Tips for Booking an Author
(From the Publisher's Viewpoint)
- Plan as far in advance as possible: (6 months is reasonable).
- Put the request in writing and give all known details: name of the sponsoring organization, location of event, date, time, anticipated size/age/make-up of audience, name of contact person...
- State exact nature of event and the author's participation: book and author lunch/breakfast/dinner, lecture, school class(es), conference address/panel... with other authors, alone... length of the presentation, question and answer period... state the theme of the event; the author's particular topic...
- DO NOT ASK FOR THE MOST FAMOUS AUTHOR OF THE MOMENT!!! Consider local talent, first novelists, mid-list, genre, backlist, self-help, how-to authors.
- Request several authors In order of preference. (Make sure they are actually published by the company from which you've requested them!)
- Be up-front and specific about expenses you can cover (or not). This includes speaker's fees, transportation, hotel, meal costs... Try to take advantage of publisher's tours where at least some of these costs are covered.
- Say if you will have an autographing opportunity/sell books and state who will handle this: the library or school, the Friends or PTA, a local bookstore. Find out how to get the books from the publisher or wholesaler. Books should be on-hand well in advance of the event.
- Once the author has said "yes," confirm all arrangements/ agreements with a follow through letter. Putting details in writing eliminates later confusion.
- Make the trip as worthwhile as possible from the authors/ publishers point of view: get all the staff informed and involved; educate your audience in advance with flyers, booklists, etc.; try to set up other appearances at the local bookstore, local radio, TV, newspaper... Give the publisher credit by using their name in all PR items.
- After your successful event, follow-up with a thank you and report to the author/publisher: (You may need to approach the same publisher in the future.) If something went wrong state suggestions/plans for improvement.
...and remember, plan as far in advance as possible!