Market research on customers and competition.
New experiences in a new city.
Exchange of information with other authors.
Costs for travel, space, accommodation, stock, etc.
Effort (might have to take leave from day job to attend event).
Not as efficient for sales.
This is what I’ve been told from authors at various stages of their careers. Some are pro and will gush about different requirements for different events. Others will cringe and try to talk you out of it because it isn’t as productive as doing a couple of hours on the net a day, leaving you with the rest of the time to actually work on your projects.
But logically, it sounds like a good idea to give it a go, get your name out there, and see a new place.
This is a statistics game. You must contact as many libraries and community colleges as you can find and ask if they would be interested in hosting you. Only something like 10% will get back in contact with a response and it won’t always be positive.
Try to do it through email so you have every conversation recorded and it’s easy to refer back to important information like names and times. You will have to tell them important information like;
Who you are. Are you an author of a specific genre? Have qualifications or experiences that influence your writing?
What you are offering. Author talk? Workshop?
Possible time frame. Is it for later in the year?
Contact information. Your number, your website, and purchase links to your books so they can suss you out.
Setting up a stall in the artist alley or indie press for a geek convention like Comic com or Supanova is great if you’re genre is in fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, or fan-fiction. If you do non-fiction, then going to conventions that are specific for that interest is only smart. You can google to see what’s on and how close it is to you.
And you can find out the costs. Tables at events can be expensive and it only goes up when you need more space or want electricity in your stall. Do your research and stick to a budget, there is no point in going big at a convention with a new table cloth, professional signs, and bright lights if you sell nothing and end up hating the very idea of ever leaving the house ever again. Go small to begin with and test the waters.
Don’t forget to factor in travel and accommodation. And if you’re going to a fair then you’ll have to take your own chairs and table (most conventions will provide).
Book early as there can be early bird specials sometimes.
At the moment, I am just finishing up the prep work for my first event in Canberra (sorry to the regular readers, we’re all getting tired about hearing about this damned convention) and then I’ll be working on being ready to give author talks in Maitland and Forster. So stay tuned, I’ll be collecting more data and writing more articles on events.