Research before committing [Book Events Series]

I was a bit quiet last week (the laptop died and it is at least a million times harder blogging from my phone) but today I am back with the Book Events Series, in anticipation of the NZ Book Festival in TWO WEEKS’ TIME, people!

So yesterday, the wonderful organiser who is Louise de Varga, allowed us to have a sneak peak into the North Shore Events Centre. This led me to ponder the importance of researching events before turning up. Here are some tips for researching well!

Check out previous events

While this is technically the second annual book festival, it’s the first time on such a huge scale, so it’s a bit difficult to judge. I did find some photos and spoke to people who attended last year’s event, but Louise is advertising on a much bigger scale, the venue is larger and it’s been organised well in advance. In this case, checking out previous events is not very useful.

However, before I attended local markets to sell my books as a stallholder, I visited some of the markets to get an idea of the type / quality of products sold, and the demographics of customers. Before I went to LibraryCon, I checked out previous events’ photos, too.

From nzbookfestival.co.nz

From nzbookfestival.co.nz

Talk to people

I’ve noticed in this series of blog posts that ‘talk’ and ‘people’ come up a lot! In this case, talk to people who have done the event before, are currently attending, or are planning to attend. I’ve found most people to be open and honest about their opinions, and not only do I find out their opinions of the event in question, I often get recommended other events. For example, when I was at Orewa Street & Craft Market, I was recommended to the local school fair.

Inspect the venue

Is there parking? Do people need specific instructions to get there? Is public transport an option? How big is your allocated space, and what’s provided? If you can’t make it to the venue yourself, could you ask someone to take photos on your behalf?

Think like a customer

Putting yourself in the customer’s mind is a great way to consider an event and a venue. For example, the NZ Book Festival is a bit of a drive for some people – but there’s a range of people to meet and books to buy. There’s also an onsite cafe and stuff to keep the kids busy. It can be a whole day out – easily – which makes it worth a long drive.

There’s heaps of parking available, which would be a BIG plus for any event I was planning to attend, and there’s an ATM so I know I won’t have to worry about getting cash out.

This article is part of my Book Events Series, leading up to the NZ Independent Book Festival.

5 Responses to “Research before committing [Book Events Series]

  • Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and go with your gut instinct whether or not to attend an event. I was at the first event in Devonport – and everyone learned so much. it was great being part of it all and to know that knowledge gained has expanded into this year’s event and I am absolutely sure for many years to come. I’m excited to be part of it all, not only talking with customers but fellow writers. Learning by doing and going away energised, enthused, and knowing that writing is a valuable part of life but for authors and readers. And of course selling some of my books!

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      2 years ago

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, Robyn! Learning by doing is the best way to get anything done, and I know everyone came away better off from last year. And which writer wouldn’t want to be surrounded by booklovers for a whole weekend, right?

  • I went to last year’s event in Devonport and learned a lot. Unfortunately, I won’t be at this year’s event and am anticipating regretting it! Louise is great and i hope the whole thing is a tremendous success for all involved. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you and others get on. All the best.

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      2 years ago

      Will you be *visiting* this year’s event? I am sure there’ll be a lot more learning this year and that we will all be sharing our experiences after the big weekend 🙂

  • No – part of the reason I’m not attending is the cost of travel from Taumarunui. Instead, I went to Whanganui for the literary festival – I think you’ve read my blog post about it. It was very worthwhile. No, I’ll look forward to hearing about other people’s involvement this year – and wear envy’s green for some time after, I’m sure.

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