Book Signing Event: Making It a Good Experience

First Consideration: Location

  1. • Determine the best place to meet your target audience. For many niche books it might not be in a book store.
  2. • If you have a cookbook, consider scheduling an event in a natural foods market, the produce section of a supermarket, or at a farmers market.
  3. • If you have a mystery involving a museum, check into having an event in a popular local museum.
  4. • If your book involves a beauty salon, try scheduling an event in a hair salon.
  5. • If your book involves travel in some way, contact local businesswomen’s groups about a book signing.

Making Contact and Scheduling the Event

  1. • Contact managers of businesses somehow related to your book topic about an event. Offer to give a presentation or sign books for their customers.
  2. • Research every book store in your state, then start making calls to stores that would best suit you and your book. Understand that each book store has its own personality and operating procedures.
  3. • Talk to the manager (if possible) or the store’s Community Relations Coordinator and give them your name, book title and genre, and a brief description of the book. If they want more information, send them your “sell sheet,” a business card, sample reviews, and a cover letter.
  4. • Call at least two months prior to the event if you want to be included in their store’s or business’s promotional flyer.

Promotional Items and Giveaway Items

  1. • Have a unique name tag made that says who you are and what you do.
  2. • Have 1,000 business cards made.
  3. • Have 250-500 multi-colored, good quality post cards made.
  4. • Have 1,000 multi-colored, good quality bookmarks made, with the book cover, teaser, price and ISBN only on the front; no contact information. Leave the back blank.
  5. • Get a red rubber stamp made with your website address. (Use this to stamp the back of bookmarks that you personally hand out.)
  6. • Have your book cover enlarged in color to an 11 x 17 poster and laminated on poster board at Kinko’s or another copier/printer. Use this for display at the book signing.
  7. • Get a couple of good pens for signing.
  8. • Get sweets to give away.
  9. • If you are personally providing the books, get 1-2 dozen for the event.

Working With a Book Store, Business, or Local Group

  1. • If this is a book store event, request at least a dozen books for your table. Or make arrangements to bring them yourself or set up a commission arrangement.
  2. • Give the book store several hundred of your bookmarks and have them include them in bags for people who buy books before your book signing.
  3. • Send the book store or business a poster for promotion of the event.
  4. • Get to know the book store’s community relations coordinator, the business contact, or the local group’s contact.
  5. • After the event: Send the coordinator who booked the event a brief, hand written “thank you” note.

 

Promotion in Advance of the Book Signing

  1. • Write several brief announcements for the book store’s intercom because they may announce that you are there several times. Ask them to announce it every half hour.
  2. • If you will be giving a seminar that is open to the public, include that information in the announcement (if the book store will allow it).
  3. • Contact the press and use social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the event.
  4. • Send press releases with your photograph and book cover to all newspapers within a 40-mile radius of where your event will be held.
  5. • Send post cards to friends, acquaintances, business associates, club affiliates, and others about your book signing or presentation. (3 weeks prior to event)

While at the Book Signing

  1. • Wear something to stand out in a crowd, but not something that will distract from your presentation.
  2. • Arrive a little early to get settled in and help with set up.
  3. • Look people in the eye and smile.
  4. • Don’t just sit at the table the entire time. Get up occasionally and walk around the store with copies of your book, introduce yourself to everyone.
  5. • Give your bookmark to everyone who passes by your table or whoever you greet.
  6. • Use the red rubber stamp on the riverside of the bookmarks for each one you personally hand out during the book signing. Do NOT stamp the bookmarks you leave with the store or group.
  7. • Be prepared to autograph bookmarks, even for people who don’t buy your book.

Helpful Links
• Larry James – 40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event
• Sandra Beckwith – Book Signing Tips

The Smarts

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This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.