10 Best Packing Tips For Authors

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.

No matter what the event, if attending as an author there are the ten things I always pack!

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
  • Tissues
  • 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)
  • Snacks

Further Reading for Authors!

Further Reading for Travellers

Further Listening!

Gail travels so much she started a podcast, 20 Minute Delay, about it.

Coop de Book for August is A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole. This couple reminds me of a contemporary Conall & Alexia. (Discussion here.


Yours (destined to be killed in transit, or at least stuck in Denver),

Miss Gail 

Find my books 

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Here’s a printable Downloadable Checklist of ALL my books!

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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.

Amazon (hardcover) (audio) | B&N (hardcover) | Book Depository (hardcover)

 KoboiBooks | Audible

SIGNED edition, use the SIGNED button


 Amazon.uk (paperback)| Book Depository (paperback) Kobo

Direct from Gail for Kindle .mobi | non-Amazon digital readers .epub

 Competence by Gail Carriger is the third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends..

Accidentally abandoned!

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.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My fountain pen collection.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

~ Mark Twain

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Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

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Posted by Gail Carriger

2 Responses

  1. Samanda Jeude said:

    Wanted to buy it directly from you (pay the author directly seems *so* important, especially if one is in my situation – in a Nursing Home with damn’-near no funds). But the thing says it’s not allowed in my area. USA, or???

    1. Gail Carriger said:

      My traditionally published books can’t be purchased directly from me except in those territories where I hold the rights. (Outside the USA.) But if you want to support em directly, it is really important you can buy any of my novellas directly from me. Delightfully Deadly, Supernatural Society, or Claw & Courtship.

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