Having a Successful Book Signing
edited: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
By CJ Heck
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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I'm not an expert, but this is what worked for me ...
Finally, after an excruciatingly long wait, your book is released to the public. You're still basking in the glow of new authorship, and suddenly, along comes an invitation to the first of many book signings at a bookstore. Now what? How do you make this a relatively stress-free and successful event?
First of all, work with the bookstore. They're going to be investing their staff, their time, and their money in you. They'll probably order advance copies of your book to have on hand, print signs and posters to introduce you and your book, pay for newspaper ads informing the public of the time and date of your signing, and possibly radio and TV ads, as well.
There are many things you can do to make the day come off without a hitch, besides the obvious: dress professionally, arrive early, and be excited to meet new people. Think of the store as your ‘home’ for the event. If you approach it in that way, you'll enjoy yourself, as well as sign and sell your books. Ask to be seated either close to the entrance, where you can be like an unofficial greeter, or in the case of a children’s author, in the children’s section of the bookstore. You never know when you might get the chance (during a few slow minutes) to read your book to a small group of children ... then the children tell their parents what a great person you are for reading the book to them and, ultimately, this brings even more sales.
In preparation of your signing, have your business cards printed and have them with you. Have some bookmarks printed, or design and print your own. Both are invaluable. When people walk down the aisle near you, smile, go over and introduce yourself (Hi, I’m John Smith and I’m signing my books here, today). Shake their hand and give them either a bookmark or a business card to take away with them. The whole purpose of a book signing is to sell your books. People buy from people they like, so your goal should be to first sell yourself. Most of the people you’ve given a business card or a bookmark to almost always stop back before they leave the store and take a look at your book ... some even buy one.
It’s always a good idea to check with the bookstore a week or so before your signing. Be sure and ask whether there will be posters or signs near the area where you'll be. If not, make your own! Have a full color copy of your book cover blown up in size and glue it, along with your author photo, to a poster. If you have any book reviews or press releases, you can glue those to your poster, too. Use your printer to print some small folded signs that will stand alone on your table. Make them out of card stock that say something like, “Introducing John Smith, author of “The Little Purple Duck” or, if you prefer, with just your name. If you really want to draw people to the table where your books are, bring some cookies or brownies with you and pile them on a plate next to where you're set up.
In closing, I want to say it’s important to have realistic expectations. Always hope for the best, expect the worst, and the result will probably fall somewhere in between. But smile, have fun and remember, everyone who walks into that store is a potential customer ... and a future reader of your book.