This blog originally written for and posted at Fiction University. If you are an author or a soon to be author, it’s a great blog to follow. I highly recommend it.
10 Best Packing Tips For Authors
I used to be an archaeologist. Now I write fiction for a living.
Biggest surprise when I switched careers?
I travel more as an author than I ever did as an archaeologist.
These days I have one event a month, mostly long weekends at conventions, writers conferences, book fairs, or comic cons. I also do several longer writing retreats and the occasional book tour.
Professional Author Packing List
1. Business Cards
- Front, glossy: A picture the 1st books (up to 3) in my most popular series.
- Back, matte: Name & contact information (I believe website & email are sufficient).
- Plenty of white space on the back so people can write notes.
2. Bookmarks and Other Swag
Swag is a contentious subject. I don’t use mine for promo (not intentionally). Instead I see swag as something special to give devoted readers. So I usually have exclusive in-person bookmarks, postcards, badge ribbons, or pins.
3. Name Tent
I recommend making your own name tent. You might need your own for signings or panels, especially for an easily misspelled name. I printed mine in my preferred font, on good card stock, and then laminated it.
4. Book Cover Art
The hardcover dust jackets, or a publisher’s sample paperback cover art, make great standees. I suggest packing the first books in a series, only. It isn’t always done to “prop a book up” on panels or other speaking engagements, but it’s best to be prepared in case it is done, without having to lug around actual books.
5. Signing Pens
Whatever your preferred pen is, pack several. Since I get strange signing requests (parasols, anyone?) I travel with different kinds of pens: black and gold sharpies, a highlighter, and my preferred gel signing pens (loaded into a vintage-looking necklace).
6. Tiny Notebook
I always find myself thinking of something to jot down while in a meeting or on a panel, so I like to carry something with me for notes (lately I settled on these waterproof grid paper ones). Otherwise I end up using my phone, which comes off as rude.
7. Newsletter Sign Up Sheet
I always pack a stack of print outs for the Chirrup. It gives shy readers something to do while I’m signing their books, and reaches those who aren’t on social media.
8. Professional Attire
Whether attending an event for the purposes of promotion, education, or networking it’s best to dress up rather than down. You don’t have to go to my lengths, but at least attempt proper attire.
9. Layers and Folding Tote
Convention centers and hotels have notoriously tricky atmospheres. It’s usually worth lugging around a light jacket, cardigan, or shawl. I find a folding tote also works wonders, as it’s also good for all the extra bits that I shed or accumulate throughout the day.
10. Save Yourself, Save Others
Someone will love you for one or all of the following:
- Individually wrapped toothpicks
- Breath mints (If someone offers you a breath mint ALWAYS take it. They’re trying to tell you something.)
- Pain killers and other useful over-the-counter meds (like activated charcoal)
Further Reading for Authors!
- 13 Top Tips for The Traveling Writer
- Author Specific Advice: Packing & Attending Conventions, Dressing for Events, Packing Fancy Clothes
- Gail On The Move ~ Your Questions Answered
Further Reading for Travellers
- How to Master Modular Packing AKA Kits!
- 20 Minute Delay on Pinterest (tips, tricks, articles)
- Recommended gadgets, luggage, & necessities
- Gail’s Must Do List When Visiting London
- Gifts for Frequent Travelers
Gail travels so much she started a podcast, 20 Minute Delay, about it.
- 10 Convention Packing & Attending Tips for Authors (from a NYT bestseller)
- Here’s a good article on choosing what events to attend.
- And another On the Pros and Cons of Comic Cons
- Primrose’s Packing List for Fashionable Victorian Dirigible Travel
- Victorian Travel Times
- Here’s one of the few YouTube travel hackers I follow, occasionally she has surprise information and tips even I’ve never heard before (and I am a total travel wonk)
Yours (destined to be killed in transit, or at least stuck in Denver),
Find my books
Here’s a printable Downloadable Checklist of ALL my books!
- Did you miss my latest release? Want more sneak peeks, free goodies, gossip, behind the scenes info? This goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
BOOK DE JOUR!
Probably my most travelly book series is the Custard Protocol, starting with Prudence.
But it’s this book that takes my characters to two of my favorite places on the planet, Singapore & Peru.
SIGNED edition, use the SIGNED button
Competence by Gail Carriger is the third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends..
All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
~ Mark Twain
Quote of the Day:
20 Minute Delay Podcast, Established Authors