Many authors dream of the day that they can do a book signing. Having people stand in line and pay money to purchase something you created and be excited about receiving your autograph can be heady.
But in truth doing a successful book signing takes planning and it is a rather time-consuming way to sell books. However, having the opportunity to meet with your reading audience can be a blessing. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when arranging a book signing.
- You need to provide your own crowd for the book signing. The bookstores will do what they can to publicize it, but you need everyone you know to agree to show up at the store and hopefully, some of them will buy the book. So post it on social media, do a FB live at the event, send out emails, make phone calls, beg, and plead to get a dozen or so friends and family to agree to show up.
2. If you are going to do an event at church and an event at a local bookstore, do the bookstore first so you don’t have your whole small group saying, “but we already bought the book at church.”
3. Or plan one event at church and another further away, as long as it’s an area where you can get other people to come.
4. Also, to help publicize it and help provide more exposure for the store, send out a news release about the event to local media. In your news release focus not just on the fact that you wrote a book and are having a book signing but on the value the book delivers to the reader.
5. For the event itself, be sure to have a large poster or sign. I recommend authors have a pull-up banner made that stands about 6 ft tall but rolls back into a stand when not in use.
6. Find out from the store what they will provide and what you then should bring. Do you need a tablecloth? Bookstands? You will definitely need your own signing pen, and many authors use a Sharpie.
7. Think a little more about the presentation at the table and give people an excuse to stop. Free food or candy, bookmarks, coloring or activity sheets for kids if it’s a kid’s book, or interesting items to discuss. This helps to break the ice.
8. Have one or two helpers also, one to chat with people and another behind the table with you to set up books or run errands, so you aren’t alone.
9. Support the bookstore by making other purchases there when you can, and encourage people close to you to do the same.
10. And above all, before you do anything else, make sure you are clear on how the bookstore is handling sales and bringing in the books for the event. Will they allow you to provide your own “author inventory” of books to sell? Will the store purchase the books from you directly or from a distributor they normally use or direct from your publisher?
11. Keep in mind although it helps them, they are really doing you a favor and behave accordingly.
12. Last but not least, have fun!
These book signing tips were originally crafted by Joni Sullivan Baker of Buoyancy Public Relations. You can connect with Joni at: www.buoyancypr.com.