7 steps to a successful book signing
Editor’s note: Throughout this book marketing series, I will have a few guest posts from authors and editors who have shown true promise in the topics they write about. My hope is that by bringing in guests with experience and knowledge, you’ll get an in-depth walkthrough of what to do and why, and the details will allow you to be effective in your journey as you market and sell your book.
Kade Cook is the author of Grey, a novel she has published and focused on in her marketing endeavors. Kade features her book on a variety of sites and will provide insight that will help authors to understand the process of preparing and executing a book signing. To follow Kade and learn more about her, see her available links at the bottom of this post.
Well with everything you do in life, or at least in the life of writing, it is a crapshoot. You can plan until every base is covered, but there is no way to truly know if you are going to make money at it. But if you are like me, you do what you can and hope for the best, right? Right.
So, as it goes, I am still trying to figure out this crazy but exciting new world. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to do a few book signings, and I can tell you all from experience that each one is a new adventure filled with different people, atmospheres, and events.
Other than my main launch, all the others were serendipitous findings that presented themselves because I was open and talking to people about what I did, what I do. And, here’s what I’ve learned.
I am not much for talking about my book because I don’t like to push myself on anyone, but there is a point where you have to own up to the fact that you are indeed an author and if you don’t talk, you won’t have an audience. So be brave, be proud, and when people ask, tell them with all the pride that wells inside. Make yourself available and approachable. They will see it and hear it in your words. The next thing you know, voila. You have an engagement to sign books.
Anywho, once this is established, I treat every book signing the same. Whether it is in a bookstore, craft fair, or if you are lucky enough as I have been, an authors-only event.
At a signing
You must ensure you know where you are going, and when to be there (i.e., early setup, parking) and then you can worry about everything else.
Ensure that you have books on hand and/or have enough time to order some. Because if there are no books, the signing may be a waste of time for all those involved.
Once that is settled, then it is time to alert the public to your whereabouts. Make sure you spread all the exciting news to everyone via e-mail, social media, and friends, not to mention maybe put up some simple flyers at your local stores, library, post office, and what have you. Most places are happy to help support your dream if you approach them with a happy heart and an enthusiastic considerate attitude.
Now it is on to making sure you have all the supplies that you need. If you make your own book paraphernalia (bookmarks, shirts, etc.), get to work on those and make sure they are ready for the signing. You don’t want to rush yourself right before the signing; it is stressful enough just to know you will be out there on display for all to see.
It is a very good idea to carry your own float—mixed bills and change for eager buyers who don’t have the exact change for your books/products. Not all places are set up to have bank machines or cash available. It just makes life so much easier when you are prepared. Oh, and bring your pens . . . can’t sign a book if you have nothing to write with, and who’s heard of a writer who doesn’t carry a pen. Haha hmm . . . yeah, guilty of this. Whoops.
Things to consider bringing (if relevant and if you have/can afford them:
All right, now that we have our books, products, and our cash flow ready for the mob of people who cannot go any longer without your masterpiece, dress comfortably. You are going to be in one place for a bit, sitting, standing, or whichever position you prefer, so you want to be comfortable. Constrained cloth or itchy fabric that might look lovely on the outside but is a complete and utter nightmare that will wreak havoc to the surface of your skin is a definite no-no. Trust me on this one!
But look nice.
Okay, books—check, supplies—check, float and proper dress clothes—check, check. Now, smile. Engage with people. Answer questions when asked or offer to give information to onlookers, but most importantly . . .
Be. Your. Self!
It is you and your work you are selling. People don’t want to buy a product from a person, become your fan, and then find out that you were being fake. Show them you, and let them fall for the real you, with every last little wierdo-author quirk you have. They will eat it up. And love you for it.
One last thing about having a successful book signing is to enjoy it. Whether you sell forty books or just one, enjoy the fact that someone else now holds your book in their hands and has the key that unlocks a world, your world—the one you spent hours upon hours creating. This simple knowledge should send you over the moon with pure joy and pride. You did it!
Well that is it. Write a book, plan well, and be yourself is all I have for you. So, with that being said, congrats! You are now an author—book in hand. Enjoy the ride.
Big hugs from me to you,