Setting the Table


Now that you are packed and ready, your own personal adventure in surviving online events is about to begin. Butterflies are probably swirling around in your stomach. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. It happens to everyone their first time. No matter how many articles you read and how much research you do, until you actually attend an event, nothing can fully prepare you.

About a week ago you should have heard from the organizers by email with instructions for the big day. For smaller events, this is probably no more than information about time to arrive and location. Volunteers will direct you further upon arrival at the venue. Larger events, however, will have very specific load in and load out procedures that you will need to follow. It is important you read through this email carefully. I suggest printing out a copy and keeping it with you for easy access on arrival to avoid any possible confusion. It is important to note that some packages will include an access pass that is required to be displayed on your vehicle’s dashboard to access the loading bays. Once you have unloaded your vehicle, be considerate to other vendors and move to a regular parking spot before unpacking any of your bins and boxes.

Volunteers and organizers are your friends at any event. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Take a few minutes to establish your bearings. Learn where your table or booth is located. You should know the quickest route to building exits (if the venue is inside) as well as to and from bathrooms and food courts.

Now it’s time to set your table. Begin with your tablecloth, making sure that it reaches the floor facing front. All your bins and boxes can now be hidden and organized under the table. Survey your space before setting up posters and signage. Be considerate to those around you. If the tables are set up close together you may not be able to bring out larger promotional items.

The actual layout of the items on your table is yours to creatively design. Keep it interesting. You want to stand out and demand attention. Your job is to draw people in with your display. Everything you do from here on should be geared to starting conversations with potential readers.

Obviously, you will need a few copies of each of your books, whatever paper swag you chose (postcards, bookmarks or business cards) and your portfolio. Once you have these arranged you can decide what else you would like to display.

Things to consider for your table:

A picture of your book with a large QR code on it, framed and displayed for customers who would prefer to purchase an eBook. You can create your own QR codes at Link these codes directly to whichever site you prefer to sell your eBook on.

A bowl of candy or stickers to giveaway.

A way to display your prices. If you have multiple items, a framed price list may be a good choice. You can also use mini chalkboards or vibrantly colored paper stars.

Consider theming your table to go with your book. If you look around the internet you can find most items can be made and personalized for your taste, including small statues you design in the image of characters, action figures, toys, and posters. These items are usually too expensive to sell individually, but can be great conversation starters.

Arranging underneath your table is as important as the top. You should have easy access to additional books if you need them, shopping bags (if you offer them), pens, markers, hand sanitizer, tissues and your cash box. Your cooler containing water and food should be fairly easy to access with minimal rearranging. Likewise, keep your first aid kit handy.

If you arrived early enough, there should be a bit of time left to take a few pictures and relax before potential customers begin to arrive.

Join me next week for Surviving the World of Live Events VII – Book Swag.