Top 5 Tips to Attend or Volunteer to a Book Event! Or Sophie’s bout of Wisdom after her RARE Paris (and London and YALC) adventure!

Hi dear friends!

Today Shanah @bionicbookworm gave us a day off from Top 5 Tuesday but as I promised the tale of my adventures at RARE Paris I thought I would begin with my best tips!

You will get a second post in the coming days about anecdotes of my experience at RARE Paris.

 

You will ATTEND a book event? Here is what you should know.

 

If you want a “First Aid Kit” here are my top 5 advices!

1) Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes.

Depending of the event’s season you might wait a long time outside in the queue to enter your building. If it is freezing you’ll need a warm coat and wool beneath. Turtle neck maybe or you’ll turn into a popsickle.
Once inside the place it usually gets warm and stuffy so undress to your T-shirt.

I know you may want to look cute meeting your favorite author but leave the high heels at home! You will be a long time standing and if you still hope to drag your bag full of books to your hotel favor flats or sneakers. You’ll thank me!

 

2) Forget the backpack and opt for a trolley or a rolling suitcase to carry your books.

Except if you plan on having less than 4 books signed just don’t carry them in a backpack or your back and neck will kill you by the end of the day!
Everyone knows books are heavy and you will probably end the day with more books (free or bought) than you began with! A rolling suitcase will be way more practical.

 

3) Strategize and choose

At events like RARE (Romance Reader Event) you usually have 80 to 120 authors! Many you’d know and own books you would like to get signed. I know that some book events in the US stretch over 2 or 3 days but if it’s only a one day meet you won’t be able to meet all the authors.
What you should do is prioritize. Your top 5 then top 10 then….
Study the room map and visit authors in the same corner. Then move to the next.
If the queue holds more than 10 people move to an author with a small queue.
Some authors are ticketed. Ask for a ticket as soon as possible or your chance of meeting him or her are slim to none.

4) Make friends

Think about it: you are surrounded by people sharing the same interest: the love for books!!!
This is just the perfect place to make new friends and chat about books. The wait is usually long and time will fly by when you’ll fawn over your favorites. You could gather many good recommendations.

 

5) Try something new and wait till the end.

Give a chance to authors you’ve never read.
Even if you don’t own their books go to their table if they have none or a small line and chat with them. Ask about their books. Maybe buy one and try it. Interview them. Be curious that’s the ideal moment to learn more about the writing process.
By the end of the event authors who brought many books don’t want to get back with them. Too heavy. They often will sell them for a penny and you could discover a new favorite!
That’s how I ended up reading Love My Way by Kate Sterrit last year! I loved it!

 

You will VOLUNTEER at this event? Here are some tips again

 

Of course as you will also try to get your own books signed etc. the 5 tips above apply to you too!

1) Select the position you want to volunteer for.

Several positions require volunteers.

Volunteers for events like RARE are a huge part of the success. They would simply not run without people willing to help for free.

If you are ready to help the whole day and are confident (a people person) authors need assistant to run their show.
Basically you will help the author set his/her table, set the banner, unpack boxes, organize pre orders. You will sell the books (take the change), take pictures, chat while people wait in the queue and maybe if it’s in a foreign country and you are gifted with languages translate for readers attending.

If you would like to volunteer for a few hours, opt for line ambassador ( manage the line of readers, make sure they have sticky notes with their names in their books, etc.) or lunch section ambassador(you come to close the lines for lunch and guide the authors to the lunch room). You can work from the registration desk (check tickets and distribute lanyards) etc.

 

2) Help others

You are here to assist “your” author but if you are (momentarily) done with your task look if others don’t need your help.

My author did not bring any pre order so her table was quickly set up and I helped Emma Scott’s assistant as there were MANY books pre ordered to set up and many more books to sell.

Setting up a banner sometimes will require jumping on a chair if you are on the small size like I am! 😀 

 

3) If you are an author assistant: bring change

Sometimes readers won’t have change and it would lead to an embarrassing situation and a missed sale. It will be time to settle your account later via Paypal with the author.

 

4) Read the author’s book

If you are assigned to assist an author or manage his line, read one of his or her books.
You will be able to explain to other readers what his or her books are like and maybe convince them to take a chance on the author.
You will also be able to chat up with the author.
If you are an assistant it’s a whole day function and you’ll get to know him or her pretty well. Talking about the books is always a plus!

By the end of the day I also could tell readers what Scarlett’s next series was about, when it would be published in French. I also knew all about her favorite male character and her choice of names ! 😀 

 

5) Ask the author for her preferences then own the show and engage.

These events are too big for babysitting volunteers. You are in charge of your function. Ask the author her preferences to run the show and go for it! Be sensible, observe to spot if something is needed. Engage the readers it will help them wait to meet their idol.

Most important advice: smile and have fun!

This is a long day. You will work but it will be so rewarding as you’ll be among your favorite kind of people!

You are at others services so be flexible. Don’t be a drama llama.

Now this is me in action assisting Scarlett Cole at RARE Paris 2019!

Have you ever been to a book event? Do you agree with my tips? Have others? Was this post useful to you?

Thanks for reading! Now I will catch up with all your posts and comments since last Tuesday!!!!!

Sophie

 

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27 Replies to “Top 5 Tips to Attend or Volunteer to a Book Event! Or Sophie’s bout of Wisdom after her RARE Paris (and London and YALC) adventure!”

  1. Great tips, Sophie! I love author events, and your pic is so cute!

  2. Really great tips!

  3. I was nodding my head yes to so many of your suggestions. Especially the strategizing one. When we went to RT last year there were hundreds of authors and not enough time to see them all. We had our must sees, really want to see and new authors we wanted to talk to. So we mapped it all out since there was a seating chart. It helped a ton! And meeting new bookish friends is the best! I’ve gotten so many fabulous recommendations from talking with other book lovers while just waiting in lines.

  4. Olivia-Savannah says: Reply

    I love that you have these tips! I have never been to an event like this but I know a lot of people say suitcases are best so I might do that too, if I ever go. And yay for bookish friends 😀

  5. I’ve never been to an event but ONE DAY…!!! These are great tips and it’s really cool that you got to help, Sophie. What a fantastic experience 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Trisy I hope one day you’ll get to meet all your favorite authors!!!!

      1. Me too…one day!

  6. Ahh lovely advice Sophie, thank you so much for sharing! Dressing in layers is a great advice ahah it’s always so hot once you’re inside, but outside it’s so cold at times ahah. And I love your tips for volunteering, it’s so great you got to do that, I’d love to someday 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I hope you’ll get the opportunity Marie as it was really interesting to see the “behind the scene”! Plus I love being helpful.

  7. Lots of great tips here. I hope you had an amazing time!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I did Suzanne! Really!

  8. This is super helpful because I have thought about volunteering for a little while now, and because of you, I have a better idea of what to expect!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oh really? Which event would you like to vlunteer Samantha? I guess every event has its “codes” .

      1. I thought about helping at Book Expo or Book Con, but yeah I just haven’t made the leap into trying to help yet

  9. These are great tips! It looks you had an amazing time at the event!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oh I so did Raven!!!

  10. Great tips! Love this!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Caro!!!

  11. I have never been to a book specific event, but there is a book section at Denver Comic Con! I agree with all your tips (especially the comfy shoes and layers!) except the trolly one. Depending on how busy the event is it could be impossible to have a rolling bag and could be rude to other attendees. At Denver Comic Con there are sections that you can barely walk through it would be impossible to navigate with something on wheels. I think last year they might have even banned rolling bags? Great pictures! I can’t wait till your next post to read all about how your trip was!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Really! They banned rolling bags??? WOW! Your back must hurt by the end of the day!

      1. You are allowed to leave and come back, so I plan out trips to my car!

      2. Book Expo also bans suitcases and rolling bags on the show floor as well, but from what I noticed, they at least have a “checked bags” section where you can check your bag (like you would check your coat) and go back and forth to empty/load throughout the day.

        1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

          That seems more sensible Samantha!

  12. I’ve only been to a couple of events and they were small and local. This looks like so much fun! And your post is amazing. So much info and funny too:)

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Laura! I hope one day you’ll get to attend a big event 😉

  13. That’s great advice all round, whether you go to one of these events as an observer, or as an assistant. It’s always good to know first hand from someone who’s been before. Trust me, I know. We did several comic cons and the first we were out of our depth and missed a lot. But we learnt, quickly!

    It sounds like you had a fantastic time, and can’t wait to read more.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Give me a few days to organize my anecdotes Alexandra 😉

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