This is what I learned about invitations from my recent flurry of book events:
I have an e-newsletter. In the months leading up to my book launch, my newsletter mentioned the places I was going to visit and generally when I would be there. Eventually, I specified dates for events in each place. I received many replies assuring me how much people were looking forward to attending. Yay!
Then, weeks before my trip, I sent personal emails based on geography, in each case mentioning only the applicable event for each person. Then and ONLY then did people crack open their datebooks. I received many confirmations and many regrets– “I will be traveling that day” and “Oh no! I have a show that night!” These regrets often came from people who had previously expressed, in response to the group emails, that they were really excited about attending.
I’m not mentioning this to criticize; I just find it psychologically fascinating, and helpful to know for the future. When the information came in a GROUP EMAIL, people absorbed the sentiment, but not the actual dates, even though dates were mentioned. They responded, but their responses were indicative only of enthusiasm, not availability. Only when I sent each INDIVIDUAL INVITE did people check and, if possible, reserve the date (or reply with regrets).
My tip to you: send individual invites! I was sure glad I did!
More practical tips gleaned from my recent tour here. At the link, I detail my experiences with bookstore events, book clubs, drop-ins and media; what I did, what worked well and what didn’t, and my evaluation of what was “worth it.” I’m grateful for those authors before me who shared their experiences; I hope my experiences help others (and may be just plain interesting to people who love books). Check it out.