Welcome to the inaugural “Bookstore Celebrations” category on the PPG Publisher’s Blog—a category celebrating all the wonderful ways our local bookstores help us launch new books in our communities. The first bookstore that comes to mind for me, of course, is Owl’s Nest Books in Britannia Plaza. It is no mistake that this store is Calgary’s most knowledgeable and longest established bookstore. Its staff and owners have been bringing communities of authors and readers together in meaningful ways for over 40 years.
What Makes a Book Launch at Owl’s Nest Books Unique?
Some aspects of bookstore signings will be the same no matter where you decide to launch a new book. You should call a bookstore’s event manager at least three months in advance to schedule your celebration. Bookstores tend to set up their in-store events and signings a few months in advance. This is especially true leading up to Christmas time. So, the more notice you can give, the better.
Some bookstores will want you to send them books in advance, so they can display your title before the signing. Others are fine if you simply bring books with you on the day of the event. Either way, you will need to ensure you print enough books for your signing because these sales are typically done on a consignment basis.
Owl’s Nest Books is one of the stores that takes a stack of your books in advance so they can create event posters and promote the event beforehand. For their evening events, they take things a step further by serving wine and cheese to you and your guests—on the house! What a nice touch.
A Cozy, Welcoming Environment at the Owl’s Nest
All bookstores will supply you with a table and a chair for your book signing event. Most will also supply a tablecloth for you. But oftentimes, the rest is up to you. You should come prepared with your own pens (for signing books) and small table posters that promote your book. You may also want to print bookmarks, business cards, or other marketing pieces like post cards to use as handouts.
What I love about Owl’s Nest Books is that owners Michael and Susan Hare have created such a cozy, welcoming environment for all their guests. Everything is set out for you ahead of time including a poster promoting your book(s), chairs for your guests, and pens for you to sign your books. And Michael has personally been present for every one of my signings—not only helping his store manager, Judith, to manage each event, but also greeting my guests and introducing me and my books to them at the start. They all always make you feel at home there, like you’re part of their family. That’s been my personal experience. I’ve felt that way as both the author signing books and the guest who is buying them.
Owl’s Nest Books Collaborates with the Wordfest Community
Most bookstores’ event planners will ask you to provide an author photo, brief author bio, and digital copy of your book cover in advance. Many have an events page on their websites where they advertise upcoming events. They’ll add your information there, to help you promote the signing in advance.
Owl’s Nest events manager, Sarah Johnson, takes care of these details for you. She also has a close partnership with the Creative Ring Leader of Wordfest, Shelley Youngblut, who helps local authors gain even more exposure and access to additional helpful resources. For example, Wordfest offers supplementary workshops, readings, and other unique author presentations to the community in conjunction with their two seven-day reader’s festivals in the spring and fall each year.
If you’re looking to launch a new book in the Calgary area, I highly recommend setting up your celebration at Owl’s Nest Books. This is one special bookstore with a caring family of staff who will help you make the best of your event. You’ll surely enjoy it.
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