Getting People to Your Writing Events

Friday, January 23, 2009
Publicizing a writer's event is something that is on my mind these days as I work as the publicity chair for the 94th Annual Missouri Writers' Guild conference, held in Cape Girardeau on April 3, 4, and 5. I am excited to be involved with this project as we are going to have some WONDERUL speakers, including WOW!'s very own editors--Angela Mackintosh and Annette Fix--as well as TV Writer Lee Goldberg, Simon and Schuster editor Kate Angelella, and Pulitizer Prize nominee Harvey Stanbrough.

It's also on my mind because as I become more involved with social networking, blogging, listservs, and email newsletters, I see several events such as book signings, writing classes, workshops, and conferences advertised every day. On Facebook, I am invited to several different events, and I wish I could attend them all but distance, time, and expense play a factor in my being able to attend.

So, how do you make your event stand out above the rest? How do you get more than just your family to your book signing? This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and so far I've come up with only a couple answers. I'm hoping some of you, Muffin readers, will have some more ideas.

Here's what I think:

1. You must offer something in return to your attendees for their time and money. One of my writing friends, Alice McGinty, who writes for children, often offers a craft and refreshments at her book signings. Her craft goes along with her books and makes people want to bring their children for an hour or two of entertainment by a children's author.

At the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference in Cape Girardeau, we are offering attendees, for the price of admission, at least one face-to-face meeting with an agent or editor. So, not only do conference attendees get a weekend of writing workshops and networking opportunities, they also get a chance to meet with a professional that they might not normally meet. Many authors have gotten published this way.

2. Another way to make your event stand out is for YOU to attend others' events. It's kind of like that old saying, "If I scratch your back, then you'll scratch mine." Be as supportive as you can of others' careers. You obviously can't attend everything that comes your way, but you can email friends about opportunities or include listings on your blog and so on.

3. And finally network, network, network. If people know you and respect you, they are more likely to attend something you are recommending.

Please share any other ideas you have!

Happy publicizing!

Margo Dill
Read These Books and Use Them (blog)


Anonymous said...

I recommend you contact the local paper in Cape Girardeau. They would probably do a story about your event.

Plus, they have a great web site where you can submit your own story about it.

Check out these two links:

And, here's their main web site:

Good luck!

Cher'ley said...

I'd love to come to the Con you talk about here and I might just be able to arrange it. I've just started a new job and I may be able to have a little control of where I deliver my loads.

It would be so much fun to meet everyone.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Hi Margo,

I just checked the website and I'd really like to see more about what the speakers can do for me. After all, the conference is a product, and you want to sell writers on attending (buying the product). So, I'd work on defining what each speaker is offering and why I should attend...With this economy, a writer's going to need a serious return on that conference investment.

Hey, maybe each speaker could offer some related giveaway in a raffle(ie. editing services, a book, one of those famous WOW! goodie bags!)

Then, target your audience of writers and blast that publicity out there! Good luck-

Margo Dill said...

Thanks guys for the comments. I will pass on the speaker details to the conference chair. She is doing the website. As for the newspapers, I should have put this in my post too. I actually contacted the tourism bureau in Cape and asked them if they could help with publicity if I gave them a press release and a flyer, and they said, "Sure." So, I was thinking if you were having a book signing in a smaller town with a tourism bureau or giving a writing workshop or something, maybe the tourism bureau can help. I do hope that many WOW! readers could come to the conference where Annette and Angela are going to speak, so we can all meet one another! Anyway, thanks again for your help and for your ideas. Has anyone tried certain ideas that have worked for them if they were holding a writing class or book signing?

Lee Goldberg said...

"I'd really like to see more about what the speakers can do for me."

Well, for one thing, I'll be talking about how to break into television...and teaching conference goers how to watch a TV show the way TV writers to recognize the "franchise" and key conflicts that power the narrative engine... essential skills if you hope to succeed in the TV business.


Margo Dill said...

Thanks so much for letting us know that. :) It sounds great and interesting, and not something that you get to hear at a conference in the Midwest very often. I will be sure to include it in the press release!


Annette said...

I'll be doing a session on memoir writing--teaching how writers can mine the unique stories in their lives, find their voices, and shape the material into memoirs that have universal appeal.

As for ideas about how to make the event stand out above all the rest, I believe the key is the overall experience.

Writers are a solitary lot. When we attend conferences, the two main focuses (at least as they have been for me in the past) are to come away with solid information and have "an experience"--fellowship with other writers and return home inspired.

I've been to conferences where the attendees practically run to a room, jockeying for position near an editor or agent, then run to the next room to get the kernels of wisdom from the speakers. It all seems very disconnected sometimes.

I don't know if the venue or schedule allows for it, but I would suggest a 24hr writer's lounge with chairs and tables (or couches) where writers can write, meet, chat, have discussions about the craft, etc. More like a retreat environment than the conference part of the day. I'd even be willing to sit in and chat with attendees, answer any questions I can, etc.

I'd also suggest a bulletin board or other place where people can post their contact info, geographic location, need for writing or accountability or critique partners, etc.

With regard to the solid info part of the conference, I would ask the speakers to provide useful handouts or a sheet of resources, links, etc. for attendees.

But that's just my 2 cents. =)

Lee Goldberg said...

"With regard to the solid info part of the conference, I would ask the speakers to provide useful handouts or a sheet of resources, links, etc. for attendees."

I will be providing hand-outs that cover the key points raised in my talk as well as some related articles.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top