We’ve all walked into a bookstore and been surprised by a book signing taking place. By book signing I mean one lonely author smiling hopefully at you from their rickety card table stacked with books. Be honest, it’s pretty easy to avoid that island of authorship if you want.
On the other hand, when you stumble upon a bookfest, it’s easy to get drawn into the event. Emboldened by fellow writers, authors are shouting out to you, encouraging you to visit their table. They’re suddenly a chatty bunch, telling you about their book, the book of the guy across the room, the book event they heard about happening next month.
Most importantly, they are almost impossible to avoid. Once you approach one table—a given considering there are tables everywhere you turn—you feel compelled to run the gamut, stopping for a moment at each table.
So how can you avoid being the ignored author and become part of an enthusiastic group of authors? You need a posse!
Where to Find Your Posse
Where do you find enough writers to form an author posse? It simple. You’ll find your posse where you find writers.
Search writers groups, writers conferences, bookfests, and book signings. Ideally, all the writers should be from your area. You’ll be attending events together, so you want it to be easy for everyone to come to the events.
Although you may be tempted to search for those who all write in the same genre, it’s not necessary. In fact, offering readers a variety of genres can sometimes attract bigger crowds.
Aim for at least five authors in the posse. Having more in the posse can ensure that you have a great showing even if some members can’t attend an event. To convince writers to join you, tell them what a posse can do for them.
Bigger and Better Book Signings
As a writer, if you had to choose between attending an event where you could meet one author or one with five authors, which one would you choose? Five, of course!
Imagine approaching a bookstore, library or school and offering them a book-signing event featuring five authors. If you have enough members of your posse, you can even begin organizing your own events at local community centers, restaurants or other spots in your area.
You can also attend an event but not be chained to a table for hours. While you take a break, another member can talk up your book to any readers who happen by your table.
What Is Your Super Power?
There are so many different skills that go into creating a successful book event. Finding a venue, promoting the event, arranging for the nuts and bolts (tables, chairs, microphones, signage, etc.), planning the event’s schedule (readings, Q & A sessions, raffles), and more. That’s a lot for one person to accomplish.
But if you could divvy up all these responsibilities among several authors—each volunteering for the part they do best, your event will likely be better not to mention easier for everyone. It also helps to have five or more people bouncing ideas off each other, developing an event based on the experiences of five people instead of just one. Also, any costs could be shared by the members making promotion a lot more affordable.
Do You Know a Guy?
Having a posse also gives you a resource for everything from bookmarks to webmasters. You can find out who your members are using and if they like them.
Your posse is a place to turn to when you want to find out what types of promotion are working for them, how they’re getting their book reviewed, which awards they’re submitting their book for, and any other aspects of authorship that cause you to ask questions.
A posse doesn’t just have to help each other in the “real world.” You can each help the other members by promoting each other’s work through your social media.
You can also join forces to create a group blog or other social media effort with members taking turns posting. It’s a great way to create a blog that has frequent updates without burning yourself out. Imagine if the number of people you were reaching online multiplied by five, six or as many members as you have in your posse.
There’s power in numbers. Create a posse, and you can make book promotion more fun and effective!
Have you created a posse? Tell me how in a comment below.
About the Author
Jodi Webb has written advice columns on organization, text for Nintendo DS games, trivia questions for charity fundraisers, and toy and book reviews in addition to annual reports, press releases, and company brochures. She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines such as Birds and Blooms, PTO Today, and The History Magazine. The former blog tour organizer at WOW—Women on Writing, she currently works for a small regional newspaper
Image copyrigh: Iulian Dragomir