100_1498In discussions about marketing your book the experts always mention Author Talks. Presentations of this type appeal to me because they are real; that is, I am in direct contact with the people I hope will read my book.

Not only might the audience be persuaded during my talk, but there are the inevitable questions and discussion afterword that present yet another excellent opportunity to stimulate sales.

Assuming, then, that the author is comfortable in front of an audience and has chosen a topic with which he/she is conversant and comfortable, how does one go about getting engagements? Most columns and articles about book marketing tend to skimp on that detail.

Here are some options. I begin with libraries, which often have presenter programs scheduled during the year. I will select a location suitable to my book topic and send a letter offering a free book. In the final paragraph I mention that I am available for a free Author Talk. There are many other venues, such as retirement homes, various business clubs seeking informative presentations, and book events, either on-going or ones the author creates.

Yet it is difficult to find a venue because there are so many authors out there doing the same thing, and when one blankets the area with inquiries it is difficult not to feel, well, “easy”.

But recently I thought of a solution. Rather than compete with all of those other authors, why not join them? The idea is this: gather a group of writers (a writers’ club, for instance) of any genre who are willing to try this approach. Find the venue you prefer and offer an event, not for just one book and author, but for several. This should be attractive because it will mean a larger draw to the venue and a wider area of interest.

I recently suggested this to a fellow author who has written a book about dying. My book is crime fiction  (there may be a relationship there, but not a strong one). At such an event we would likely draw very different people with very different interests – which is fine. These are people who I alone would not ordinarily draw. Add a few more authors, and voila! an even bigger crowd. I am happy, my fellow authors are happy, the venue is happy, and the customers are happy.

Am I describing a book fair? Only in the most simplistic sense. A book fair requires greater organization, preparation, advertising, and expense. I’m suggesting simply gathering together  a few authors, approaching the venue with the idea, and spend the morning reading excerpts, signing books, and selling books.

Congregate, and they will come.