Boosting Sales at Bookstore Events: The Tattered Cover’ss Recipe for Success

July 2001
by Judith Appelbaum

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More than 500 author-centered events take place every year at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover bookstores. I asked Margaret Maupin, the buyer in charge, how to make author appearances work best.

Think about the process in two parts–before and during, she said, pointing out that success depends largely on advance preparation. Then she went on to offer specific suggestions.

The groundwork

The goal, Maupin explains, is “total understanding among [the] bookstore, author, and publisher.”

Toward that end, you should:

Contact the store at least two months ahead of the date you’d like for your event. Because publishers are now booking tours farther and farther out, the Tattered Cover’s schedule fills up quickly.

Find out what kinds of events a particular store likes to do.“It’s always all right to call and ask, ‘Do you do well with child-care books? With literary books? With how-to?’” Interestingly, Maupin has found that people who come to hear cookbook authors generally eat the food and leave without making a purchase.

Pick a date when you’re most likely to have some buzz going, which may be weeks after your pub date rather than on it or close to it.

When your event is on the schedule, be sure the bookstore gets your press materials by the 15th of the preceding month.

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