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by John Koehler


Hillery Schanck loves music and finding new ways to pray and worship God—in church and in private. Several years ago, he started listening to Handel’s Messiah while reading the scripture and words written for the symphony by Charles Jennens. He found the combination of media and senses to be emotionally and spiritually fulfilling.

Since I agreed that the concept had promise, we crafted a mutually beneficial book deal and then found a local orchestra, Symphonicity, that would partner with us to provide the music. It was then posted on Hillery’s website for readers to use as they work through the daily devotionals (themessiahadvent.com).

We also produced a brochure for the Symphonicity Advent concert at the Sandler Center, where the book concept was pitched to about 1,100 people in the audience, many of whom came to sing for the recording.

Hillery then asked me about hosting a book event. Where could he do it? What bookstore? All of the typical questions from a new author. Many believe that they must hold their book events at brick-and-mortar bookstores. But they quickly learn that there is no guarantee what they will be offered by the store. Some bookstores will treat you like royalty, provide you with a gorgeous space to talk and entertain, advertise the event, and handle all sales. Wonderful.

But other stores will put you at an obscure table so you can try and tackle potential readers as they walk by. They may do little or no advertising to speak of and make you feel rather small. Not to mention the wonders of bookstores returning books you fail to sell, a surefire way to upset your publisher.

Many of our authors see more success doing book events themselves versus doing them at a bookstore. By hosting and managing their event at a home, restaurant, business, theater, winery, or anywhere else where a book party can be hosted, authors can control the décor, food, drink, atmosphere, giveaways, pricing, and payments.

The Plan



John Koehler is the publisher at Koehler Books and the author of seven books, including the POCKET GUIDE TO PUBLISHING: 100 Things Authors Should Know. He is an award-winning graphic designer and the 1991 Boomerang World Champ, is married with two kids, two grandkids, and lives in Virginia Beach.