Book signings are a great way to connect with your readers. If you’ve never done a signing, don’t be intimidated. Let’s walk through some basic steps to help you prepare.
Location, location, location
It’s not just true for real estate, it’s also true for signings. Be creative. Don’t limit yourself to an event at a big box store. I’ve worked with authors who had no success whatsoever with one of those stores and huge success with that little book shop on the corner.
Here are a few things to think about:
1. Start close to home. Local book shops love their local authors.
2. Look at the book store’s social media activity and followers. Are they active? Do people love them?
3. Check out their website and Facebook page for event activity. Do they actively host authors and promote events?
Don’t limit yourself to bookstores
Many years ago, my husband and I walked into a grocery store in Thousand Oaks, California and came face-to-face with celebrity chef, restaurant owner, and author Martin Yan. He was hosting a cookbook signing right there in the produce section of the grocery store. A chef, in the middle of the produce section. Makes sense, right?
Where does your reader shop or hang out? Some authors hold launches and signings at wineries and craft breweries. Wrote a book about a dog or cat, try a pet store. Is your audience older? Try your local senior center. Did you write a business book? You might have great luck at a Chamber of Commerce or business club event. You never know. Just ask.
Create a system
You’re going to need to prepare ahead of time for the signing by making sure you have things like extra books, pens, a table cover, business cards or postcards with your author pages, and maybe an appropriate treat. During the signing you’ll need a schedule so that you can anticipate and control the event. If you’re doing a reading, at what time and how long? If you’ve invited the media, what time are you expecting them? If you’re signing/selling books, when and how long? How many books should you bring?
Did I mention books?
Please don’t give them away. No one is expecting a free book. Readers want to see the person behind the book and get their own autographed copy. Click To TweetIf your signing is in a bookstore, be sure to ask if you can leave 5 or 6 copies to sell on consignment. You might even ask if you can autograph them. Some shops love this, because a signed book cannot be returned. Some bookstores hate this for the same reason. Don’t assume! Ask.
If your signing is at a library, be sure to bring a copy to donate. If your local library has more than one location, it’s a good idea to bring enough for each branch if they’ll allow. My local library requires one copy for review before they add it to the catalog because they do not accept all independently published works.
Publicity should occur before AND after your event
Write a media alert and send it to your local media outlets, inviting them to attend, including a schedule for the event. Use your local media’s free calendar section too. Some are pretty strict about timing, so make sure you send it early enough. Don’t forget about Facebook events. It’s probably my favorite use of Facebook. Bring someone with you who can do a Facebook or Instagram Live video for your long-distance fans. Finally, be sure to take lots of pictures so that you can share them on social media after and in a press release, to summarize the event.
Finally, be sure the person you bring with you is paying attention and is someone who can help you to review everything afterwards – talk about what worked and what didn’t work. Write everything down and make adjustments were necessary for your next event.
As always, I am blessed to be a blessing.