Stages on Pages. While I benefitted from my experience supporting other authors' books, the learning curve was still steep. I want to share what I've learned in hopes that this helps other authors, as well as librarians and educators interested in working with authors. Here's the first post if you want to catch up. Today, I'm sharing some data from my informal survey on bookstore events (it's still open, so if you want to contribute (as a reader or writer) I'd BE THRILLED--just go here).
Preliminary Bookstore Event Survey Data
RESPONDENTS WERE: 75% YA authors; 25% MG an/dor picture book authors and,
OF THESE, 75% were debut authors and 25% multi-title and/or multi-genre authors (different breakdown)
NUMBER OF BOOKSTORE EVENTS RESPONDENTS ATTENDED THIS YEAR: 50% attended 4-6; 37.5 % attended 2-3; 12.5 % attended 7 or more.
Approximately 90% of respondents cited their launch or similar (e.g., hometown publishing celebration, etc.) as their most successful signing event, generally with turnouts around the 50 mark (1 author had over 100).
The most successful events respondents attended as audience members, were signings by Ellen Hopkins, Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, and other authors with established careers and multiple titles on the shelves.
In terms of authors' opinion of what qualifies as "GOOD ATTENDANCE" for an event, the numbers divided evenly between 15-25 and 25-50. One anonymous respondent (not incorporated in stats) felt 5 people was a good showing for a newbie author. Sadly, over 60% of respondents have been to 2-3 bookstore events with fewer than 3 attendees.
75% of authors said BOOKSTORE EVENT ATTENDEES were primarily local friends and family. Two respondents added that some blog and twitter followers also came. ONE author cited bookstore outreach & publicity as the main way attendees were drawn to an event (more on this later).
FACEBOOK INVITATIONS were the #1 vehicle for publicizing bookstore events, though some authors also used Twitter and/or personal emails/newsletters. Most authors expressed uncertainty as to a truly effective method for spreading the word.