As an established author, one may come to notice a seemingly inevitable plateau or decline in book sales as time goes on. There are ways, however, to re-engage your fan base and reinvigorate your marketing strategies. One terrific, simple way to do this is to arrange a book reading at your local bookstore, library, coffee shop, university or school, etc.

It is important–whether or not your book is hot off the press–to keep your audience engaged, but also to keep yourself actively engaged in promoting and selling your book. Not only do fans of your work want to see you in person, a book reading can also drum up potential fans who would not have otherwise heard of your piece!

So…the question you may have is, how does one prepare for a book reading?

Come Prepared

  1.  Pick 4 or 5 captivating passages to really draw in your audience. Practice reading these passages to friends, to a mirror, or even to your cat if you feel so inclined. If you want to utilize the camera feature on your smartphone or computer, you can even film yourself to see how your performance will appear to others.

Be Confident, Comfortable, and Relatable

  1.  A great way to relate to your potential readers is to provide your personal reasons for writing the story, or the inspiration behind it. Make sure to come up with key talking points if you’re going to take this approach so that you can talk freely without a  script–appearing confident and comfortable will further inspire people to give your book a chance!

Keep Your Audience Engaged

  1. Make sure to keep a close eye on your audience: if you’ve only made it through some of your material but notice that the crowd is getting restless or checking their phones, change gears and do a Q & A to keep them actively participating. If you’re too busy staring down at your script or book, you’ll miss important body language cues that could help you gauge where you should direct your attention, or perhaps encourage you to take up a more captivating tone or to make better eye contact.

Don’t waste a precious opening by reading out a long list of names, thanking those who helped you publish your book and risk putting your audience to sleep–instead, lure them in, grab their attention, answer their questions, THEN thank whoever you need to thank.

Anticipate Obvious Questions

  1. Don’t fumble when people ask you “What does the title mean?” or “Was the character inspired by a real person?”, etc. etc.

Also, repeat the questions to the audience, you want everyone to know what you’re responding to, not just the person posing the question.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative with Location

  1. Remember that bookstores are not the only places to find potential readers. There are a myriad of potentially relevant locations for you to speak at which could span from a woman’s shelter to a community garden to a prison, etc. etc. If your book is about long distance hiking, try a local gear store. The key is, start close to home!

Get the contact information for whatever venue you’re looking to speak at: manager’s name, phone number, and email are great places to start! Describe how your book reading could benefit the business by drawing in customers, resonate with the store’s target customers, increase the likelihood that those there for the book reading will also shop at the store after the event.

Advertise Your Event!

  1. Make sure to publicize your event: flyers, social media posts, mention it in your blog, send a press release to local shopping guides or community calendars.

Remember above all else, it is not up to book stores to sell books, but authors themselves! Be active in the process of marketing and selling your book and the success of your book sales will reflect your hard work!

book reading
[ book readings are a great way to drum up interest in your book! ]

Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, 10:00 AM

3 thoughts on “Six Steps to Hosting a Successful Book Reading Event!

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