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Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Seven Things Stephen King Doesn't Have to Do

 Oh, to be Stephen King. If I were Stephen instead of Sioux, I’d have dozens of people working to make me happy. They’d be scurrying to ensure I was comfortable at my book signings. A full water bottle at all times. Eyebrows combed to look appropriately intriguing. A chair that wouldn’t make my bony rump ache.

Okay, I don’t aspire to have eyebrows like his, and King’s rear end is probably bonier than mine, but still…

Wait. Wait a minute. Before the chair would be positioned and the water bottle set in place, somebody would set up the book signing tour. A whole lot of somebodys. Since most of us are in the upper nose-bleed section, instead of courtside with Stephen King, we have to set up our own author events. Nobody wants to drive around for months and months with the same boxes of (unsold) books, so what are some creative ideas and smart tips when it comes to book events? Here are a few I’ve stumbled on:

1. Think outside the box. Libraries and bookstores are sometimes overbooked. (Overbooked. Get it?) How about a quirky restaurant on one of their slow nights? I immediately thought of a craft beer spot I love (even though I hate the taste of beer), along with a restaurant that’s run by folks I know really well. It would be a win-win. I’d promote their establishment, perhaps bringing in a few extra customers, and I would be able to chat with their diners.

image by Pixabay

2. Try to bring a bench with you. Sitting on a bench means a friend who wants to pose for pictures with you wouldn’t have to hunch over you. They could sit right next to you. I had not even thought of that. What a simple, no-duh idea.

3. Have a give-away or a contest. One suggestion: Who traveled the farthest distance? I’ve taped tickets under chairs before at teacher events, which is another idea.

4. Host a picnic. Have families bring sack lunches, and everybody gathers in a park. This would work especially well if the writer’s book is a children’s book. As the families munch on their meals, you could have a brief reading and a question and answer session.

5. Don’t sit behind the table. Stand next to the table, to make yourself more accessible. Approach the potential customer, instead of waiting for them to come to you. If your event is in a bookstore, walk around and as you chat with people, hand them a book… Ask them to drop by before they leave. They might just have a credit card or cash in their hand when they come back, ready to buy your book.

6. One blog writer in a post suggested having people sign a book of yours while you autograph their book. This could be their name and a comment about the event, or it could be the makings of a future mailing list. 

7. Have the event as interactive as possible. Giving the audience a chance to participate ensures they’re more engaged. The more people are involved, the more they’re going to root for you and talk you up to other potential readers.

What creative ideas do you have for author events? A soon-to-be-author-of-a-book wants to know...

Sioux Roslawski is a freelance writer on the weekends and a middle-school teacher during the week. In her free time, she also rescues dogs, and has even traveled to Turkey twice on dog rescue missions. In the spring of 2021, her historical middle grades novel, Henry's Story: Greenwood Gone (about the Tulsa Race Massacre), will debut.

If you'd like to read more of Sioux's writing, check out her blog.


  1. I love the title of your post here. I love these suggestions. SO, have you read SK's bio/craft of writing book ON WRITING?

  2. Jeanine DeHoney1:23 PM

    These are all great ideas for your book launch Sioux. What an exciting and celebratory time this is going to be for you

  3. Great list! I especially like your suggestion not to just sit behind your table. Sometimes we introverts need a little reminder...

  4. Margo--King's book, along with "Bird by Bird," are my writing bibles. Both of them are wonderful resources.

    Jeanine--At some point in the future, you're going to be selling YOUR book, and you'll be able to share what you're planning on doing and what works for you. (I'm capable of seeing into the future. ;)

    Sue--Yeah, I think more writers are introverts than extroverts, so the nudge is needed...

  5. So here's a tip we use at SCBWI conferences:

    Have sticky notes available and ask people to PRINT who'd they'd like the book autographed to. This saves you from messing up the spelling of a name AND asking five times, "What was that again? Can you spell it?" Because trust me, names are tricky now. (Is it Cathy with a C or K? Does it end in y or ie? Oh, it's ey? That's interesting. Oy.)

  6. Cathy--If I can find a decent photo of myself (I'll probably have to go back to when I was 15) I'm thinking of making a life-sized "SOAS" (Sioux on a Stick) following your brilliant lead. I've seen the post-it idea. It's a good one. I would be asking five times because of my old ears...

  7. I think some sort of short trivia session related to the time period around your book or civil rights history in general may be a good icebreaker at an event. Other than that, I think everyone else has some good ideas. I haven't read "On Writing" but love King, so I'll put it on my ever-growing TBR pile!

  8. Renee--The trivia idea is a great one. That sort of thing could be one fairly quickly and engage the whole audience. Thanks, Renee.

    And King's book is well worth the time. You should put it on the top of the pile (to get read first).

  9. Chocolate is always a great enticer. you are weeks away from your big launch. I know you are so excited! So happy for you.

  10. These are wonderful ideas! And such a clever title! My daughter read ON WRITING for her High School English class. She's an artist and found it very intriguing. We are working on a book together and hopefully one day soon we will have an opportunity to use these suggestions!


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