Orion Township Library – Book Signing, December 3, 2016.
Before we really get into this, let’s agree on the term “successful.” I define it simply … your books are there, you have a place to sit and you sell a book.
Sounds nutty, right? Really, it’s not.
The Real Purpose
The purpose of a book signing isn’t to sell your books, it’s to sell yourself as an author. Any time you can sit in a library or a bookstore with your face, name and product in front of people who love to read, that’s great promotion.
For an author, a book signing can be terrifying. Believe me, I know. It’s like throwing a party and not being certain anyone will come. But there are ways around this.
Don’t do it alone. Go to signings that feature lots of other authors. With many authors in the same place, no one counts how many books you did or didn’t sell. Not even me.
Promote on your end. Tell your friends and family. Tell their friends. Make an announcement on all social media you belong to. Even if no one on your list is a local, they might have friends who are.
Dress comfortably, but nicely. “Business casual” best describes my preferred way to dress for a signing: comfortable pants, nice shirt (a sweater in the winter) and (for guys) a sport coat.
Bring stuff. I like to bring a water bottle, my business cards, lots of pens (you’d be amazed at how many people walk off with pens), and any promotional items you want to show or share.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Don’t be afraid to smile and wave and greet customers. I know it can seem scary, but please don’t sit there in a huddled lump. Talk to people. At the very least, make eye contact.
I always try a cheerful, “Hi there! What do you like to read?”
I stand often and speak to people passing the table. If someone stops and looks at the books, I put one in their hands. Not to tell them to buy it, but to make them feel comfortable picking it up and reading the back blurb.
Then I engage them in conversation about it: “This is my latest book. It’s about… ”
This may also be a good time to hand them a promotional business card or bookmark so they can pass it on to others who are interested.
I even talk to the kids.
That lady in a hurry, who doesn’t read your genre, may not ever buy your book … but she will remember you were nice and down-to-earth and will tell her friends who are avid readers that she met you.
As I said, at a book signing you’re not promoting books as much as you are selling yourself.
No act of kindness is ever wasted.
Observe the other authors and how they interact with the public. Check out their promotional stuff. Smile and look over their books.
Introduce yourself as a fellow author and be sure to trade marketing tips. Everything you see and hear at a book signing can be directly applied to your own efforts (or firmly crossed off as Things To Never Do Again).
I’ll tell you one more not-to-be-missed benefit of book signings: they make you feel real.
I’ve already published six books, won multiple awards, and still worry someone will write fraud on my forehead whenever I introduce myself as a writer.
But at a book signing, with your own books in front of you… well, you’re the real thing … and it’s great good fun.
At my recent signing I was approached by the local paper (who had already published my picture in the article announcing the library event) to send them information for an article about my latest book. I was also interviewed live by our local cable TV station.
I’ve been at signings where I sold more books, but the publicity from this one is going to make it a signing that’s tough to beat.
Thanks Orion Township Public Library!
My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.
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