Tips to Connect with Readers After Your Author Events

by | Writing | 6 comments

“The future of publishing is about having connections to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want.” — Seth Godin


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

Authors meet readers at such events as book signings, public launch parties, and library meet-the-author discussions. Some attendees would enjoy further contact with authors and subscribing to their newsletters. But not all readers.

From my research and experience with Calculated Risk, here’s a way I connected with interested readers after these events.

Image courtesy of adamr at

Image courtesy of adamr at


Authors, use obtained email addresses for one-time offers to connect with readers. Click to tweet.


Tip 1. Collect email addresses at all your events.

  • Have a nice giveaway for a drawing, such as a basket of book-related items or a book. On the drawing entry forms, ask for email addresses to contact winners. At the bottom include a checkbox for contestants to tick if they do NOT want email updates from you.
  • photoAt events in which you don’t offer a drawing, have a guestbook available and invite guests to sign it for updates on your books.
  • If you lead a workshop, pass around a sign-up sheet for email addresses to receive a valuable complimentary and complementary extra you’ve created for participants.


Tip 2. Soon after each event:

•  Eliminate the entry forms on which boxes are ticked that the contestants don’t want updates from you.

Giveaway Entry Form

•  Send a one-time email to the rest that’s honest and reads something like this:

Subject: Appreciation

Hi [contestants first name],

Thank you for participating in the drawing(s) for [title of your book and/or the giveaway] at [name/place of the event]. Winners have been notified. This is a one-time email. I respect your privacy.

If you would enjoy learning more about my books, reading fun articles, and trying recipes, I invite you to sign up for my quarterly newsletter at [give the link to your website].

Best wishes,

  • photoDrive readers to your website, where they’ll find everything you have to offer them, including your book page with buy buttons. So in your email signature give only your website link. This drives interested readers to your website, where they’ll find your social media buttons on every page. My blog is embedded in my website, making it easy for readers to visit my blog.
  • Use a Subject Title that’s less likely to be thrown into spam folders. Don’t use exclamation points or promotions words.
  • Honor recipients’ privacy. Don’t send them another email unless you’re already friends or they responded to your email. Also, either send individual emails or use the blind copy option.
  • Expect a small percent of responses. However, with a few from every author event, you’ll grow your interactions with readers and gain newsletter subscribers.

Example: I failed to ask the name of a particularly interested reader who bought a couple of books and took a picture with me at a book signing. I wished to send her a personal note. But I didn’t know which entry form for the drawing was hers. After I sent individual emails to all participants who’d allowed updates from me, she responded. We learned we’d lived a neighborhood away from each other at one time. She visited my website and signed up for my newsletter.

What other ways have you respectfully connected with readers after events?

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  1. Jane Foard Thompson

    You are so right about respecting the privacy of people who fill out a form to win a prize (which is a great idea). Nothing will drive them away more than feeling pursued in sales.
    Thank you for such useful tips!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      I think it’s one of those do unto others as you would have done unto you things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jane.

  2. Zoe M. McCarthy

    Thanks for stopping by, Katy.

  3. AJ Cattapan

    I recently did a talk at a church and did a giveaway during the break in the talk. On the raffle ticket, I let them check either “Yes, I’d like to learn more about A.J. Cattapan’s future giveaways, presentations, and books via her monthly newsletter,” or just “No thanks just enter me in the giveaway.” It worked well and most of the people checked “Yes.” I think it helped that I said the newsletter would only be monthly so they knew I wouldn’t flood their inboxes.

  4. Zoe M. McCarthy

    I think letting readers know they will receive a limited number of emails from you, as you said, AJ, is important.

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