Sounds like fun, right? Well, it isn't UNLESS I go with my own agenda which is: "tell stories, have fun, make friends, tell stories, talk about writing, give tips on writing from life, tell stories, give tips on writing one's history, tell stories."
End with a question- answer session. Done and done. Go home and change back into
Here's what I DO NOT want to do: "worry about book sales, try to convince people to buy my books, think about who will buy my books, wonder why no one wants to buy my books, agonize over the lack of sales at this or any other event."
There you have my very short list on how to enjoy your author event. You notice I didn't say "how to have a successful author event." Because that involves selling books, and that means I put too much pressure on myself, and that means misery and failure instead of enjoyment and avoidance of an entire pan of fudge brownies.
Oh, one more thing-- Include a drawing for a free book. Each person in attendance writes their name and email address on a card and drops it in a basket. The winner gets a free copy of your book, and you go home with everyone's email addresses for future promotion. But be sure and tell them you will use their information only to contact them about future events, or when your next book is available. (I have yet to do this. But I keep thinking about doing it, as it's a really good idea.)
Please feel free to add your own excellent tips in the comments-- either from your experience at presenting or attending such events. (I'm a lost cause, but your good ideas might help someone else.)