Recently a pal of mine tweeted that he would be at the New York Public Library that evening. Yay! Oh wait, rats. AAR meeting. No go.
BUT I wanted to promote the event so other people would attend because I really love my pal's book and he's a pretty cool guy to boot.
So I retweeted his tweet.
Then I looked at the tweet.
NYPL is a huge, multi-borough library system. At WHICH library was he appearing?
I checked his website for event details: nada.
I googled his name and "nypl" and there it was.
So I linked to the NYPL site and tweeted the more specific location.
What's your takeaway on this? A couple things:
1. Always always always have your events listed on your website. Front page if possible. If you don't know how to update your page to add (and remove) events, learn how, or find a webmaster who can update with alacrity.
2. When you're promoting, ask yourself what someone who knows NOTHING about the event needs to know to attend.
You're going to do a panel at Bouchercon? Yay! Except Bouchercon is a three day long event and this year has more than 60 panels. Don't make your fans comb through the schedule. TELL THEM it's This Day and at That Time. And if you have the room number, so much the better.
3. Repetition is the key to people remembering things. If you've got an event in NYC, it helps to tweet about it at least two weeks ahead of time. Your devoted fans will mark it on their calendars. Then you tweet periodically up to the day of the event. And the day of the event you tweet at least three times: morning, lunch, right before.
At every event no matter large or small, you collect names on a sign up sheet for your mailing list. You invite people to join the mailing list, and then you thank them for doing so as soon as possible. Being able to reach your specific fans in a specific city is promotional gold.
Facebook and Twitter is scattershot for announcing events. A personal email to someone is a direct hit. Which one bags more attendees? Well, I know at least two authors who
worked their mailing list to build their fan base to the level they now
enjoy: well-established NYT best sellers.
Promotion is tough. A lot of writers don't like doing it. I've never quite understood why, since you are in fact telling your fans how to find you.