If you’ve never done a public library visit before, there’s a few things you may not know.
Librarians are fangirls at heart. Well, some of us are. We may act all cool negotiating your fee on the phone, but inside we’re dying because we loved your book and we want to share it with the world immediately.
But, just because we know how awesome you are doesn’t mean we can raid “deep” library pockets. If you’re not a big name, don’t expect a huge fee. We may pay a few hundred dollars if you are coming from out of town. But if you could do an author visit for $50, that would be great. Or, preferably free. Could you do it for free? Then we might be able to provide drinks and a snack.
If your audience isn’t asking question, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. Sometimes they are just mesmerized by you because you are no longer a real person. You are a celebrity. A Real Live Author. And maybe they are just trying to absorb the words coming from your mouth.
The librarian will help you out, asking questions to keep you going. Even if most of the audience hasn’t read your book, we will have or we’ll have researched you. It’s in our interest to make this event work, too.
Maybe you don’t know what to talk about? Maybe you’re a new author and no one has read your book yet? What then?
Talk about almost anything.
- Have a book trailer? Show it.
- What inspired this book? (Killer Kittens from Omaha? Where’d that come from?)
- How long did it take to write? How many versions do you have?
- Pre-empt the where you get your ideas question. (You know it’s coming.)
- Show off your work space.
- Talk about your next book.
- Talk about your famous author friends.
- Talk about what you do when you can’t write and what you do when you absolutely must write.
If you speak about a range of topics, you will strike upon something the audience will want to hear about. And if you have a message to deliver? Handle it lightly. Just like your readers, your audience can pick up on a theme quickly and will appreciate it…until it’s been beaten into them.
The Big Swag Grab.
Is your book not for sale yet? Bring ones to give away! Don’t have any ARCs to spare? Get book plates made and sign them so they can be put in your book upon purchase. Or remember those bookmarks you made? This is the time to send them out into the world.
It is highly likely you will be on someone’s cell phone. It is almost guaranteed you will get on the library’s website. And it’s possible you’ll get in the local or metro newspaper.
Have a Sound Bite to Read.
Pick a teaser scene in your book and get really good at reading it. Sometimes you won’t have time for it because people already know you and your book. And sometimes even though they are already familiar with it, they want to hear YOU read it. But, if they don’t know anything about your book, this is your opportunity to get them hooked.
The thing is: practice so you can read it well.
Be On Time.
Above all, care enough about the visit and the audience to show up on time, be dressed, and act personable. Nothing is worse for a reader than coming to an event to see your hero of the moment and have them show up an hour late, in pajamas, and in a bad mood. It makes the author look bad and it makes the librarian look bad for not knowing better.