Wine glasses
Editor’s Note: As I go through the process of moving, a couple of my expert (re: smarty pants) friends — experts in writing, marketing, publishing, and social media — are pitching in until I get back. Enjoy their wisdom and visit their sites, which are listed at the bottom of their post

So you want to publish a book, right?

And you expect this book to be wildly successful.

Get in line.

I get it. I know what you want. Now is the time to get to work. You need to host an event. A cool one. But it’s not just about the event itself. It’s all about the work you put in during the weeks leading up to the event.

The publishing industry is tough and with the advent of self-publishing, e-publishing on top of traditional publishing media, book publishing isn’t getting any easier. In fact, I’d argue that because of all of these different ways to publish, the industry is even more cut throat. Moreover, it’s even harder for readers to cut through all of the fluff and find a book that resonates with them.

The good news?

All is not lost.

There are a few things you can do to make connecting with your potential readers a lot easier. How do I know? It’s my job to know. I make a living telling my story and helping other folks tells theirs in ways that are meaningful to their target audience. Yes, that’s a fancy way of saying I’m a publicist. It also helps that I’ve experienced great success with a recent book project that landed itself in front of the readers of national publications such as Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, New York Times, Essence, Ebony among several others.

Icess sent me here to help you. I’m going to share with you the top five things you can do to boost your book’s public awareness with a live event.

Get Social!

No, seriously. I mean really social. Incredibly social.

Use your social media following to promote your project. Tease your e-mailing list with snippets of your project and include event details. Blog about it. Post about your blog on social media to drive traffic.

Create a special hashtag for your project that you can use on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or whatever social media site you’re using. This way potential readers can follow all of the conversation about your project.

Encourage use of the hashtag at your public event. Your public event could be a book launch party, a book signing or your attendance at a book fair. Make sure the hashtag is displayed on your marketing materials and don’t be afraid to attendees to post pictures and comments using the special hashtag.

Allow a few folks to read your advance galley. Ask them to video their brief review (read 90 seconds or less) and include your event details. Ask them to share the review on their own social networks and your own.

Ask ten of your closest supporters (who also have a large social media following) to tweet, blog, and post about your book and your event. Be sure to control the message–you write the post for them and ask them to share it with their respective networks.


I don’t mean buying land or making your mark on the moon. What I want you to do is to create a special landing page for your public event.

You can use tools such as EventBrite or you can set up this landing page on your own blog. The important thing is to include brief information about the project, all details about the event and offer a freebie to all those who RSVP for the event (you’ll be able to use those e-mails later for your mailing list to promote other projects).


Don’t go it alone. Find a relevant organization that has an interest in your project or your project’s content.

Ask that organization to post details about your project and your public event on its social media, web page and distribute it to its e-mail contacts.

INVITE THESE FOLKS TO YOUR EVENT. Give them an incentive to come out and show their support– like a few free, autographed copies of your book.

Show up

Really. We want to see your smiling face in the place. All of the places.

In the weeks leading up to your event, show your face at multiple networking events. Pass out your promotional rack cards that advertises your book AND your event.

Drag yourself to each and every event possible–book signings, book fairs, book club meetings, networking meetings, writing groups, schools, etc. Do not miss an opportunity to connect with people and invite them to your event. People love a personal invitation.


Yes. This is the part that counts.

The goal here is to create an awesome public awareness campaign about your event. Make sure you have the following:

A publicist like me or someone who can set up, greet people and manage the crowd so you don’t have to do it all.

Audio and visual equipment that help tell your project’s dynamic story.

  • A special backdrop that includes your name, your book’s name, the special hashtag you created and any other sponsors.
  • Copies of your book! Make sure you have a way for folks to purchase on-site.
  • The promotional information cards about you and your project (make sure your web site and social media handles are included)
  • A sign-up table for your e-newsletter
  • Easel displays or vertical banners of you and your book.
  • Light refreshments wouldn’t hurt.


Questions? Feel free to drop me a line.



Ashley Northington is a professional communicator, public education advocate and entrepreneur. She is the Director of DENOR Brands & Public Relations, a boutique public relations and branding firm that specializes in the entertainment, lifestyle, business and public service industries. Learn more about her at site by clicking here.