What’s a Successful Book Signing?

December 9, 2016

library-book-signing-2016Orion 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.

Be Observant
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!

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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.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Do Book Awards Matter?

December 1, 2016

rf2016-awardReceiving Readers’ Favorite Award, November 2016

That depends on you, your book, and what you hope to achieve from entering contests.

We know from Bookscan sales data that very few book awards actually help to sell books.

The Pulitzer does, but most others make no measurable difference.

Sadly, from experience I have to agree. I’ve written six books and collected five awards, but the world isn’t knocking down my door.

Still, awards are helpful.

They signal a book’s quality to potential readers. They add credibility that gives assurance the book is worthwhile.

You get a little touch of magic from a third party endorsement. When an authority says your work is worthy, that’s actually priceless.

If You’re an Indie Author
Here’s a list of my Top 8 book awards worthy of your consideration:

    1.Entering IndieFab Awards should definitely be on your literary to-do list. Formerly ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

    2.Find out how to make it on the Indie Next List to win an Indies Choice Book Award

    3.The National Indie Excellence Book Awards selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. Created especially for indie and self-published authors.

    4.Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Here’s your chance to enter a competition exclusively for self-published books. One winning entry will receive $8,000 with nine first-place winners who’ll receive $1,000 each.

    5.Readers’ Favorite Awards receives submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times best-selling authors.

    6.The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions. To enter, a book must be from an academic press, small press or self-published author.

    7.Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Thousands of dollars in prize money. Finalists and Winners receive a listing in the Next Generation Indie Book Catalog distributed to thousands of book buyers, media and others. Plus the top 70 books will be reviewed by a top New York Literary agent for possible representation.

    8.Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie/Self-Published Book Competition honors more than 100 indie/self-published books. In addition to $1,500 in cash prizes, they’ll feature the winner, five finalists, and more than 100 “notable” books in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound.

    Any independently published book in any genre in any publication year is eligible for entry.

Entering a Competition
Was it worth it for me? Definitely.

Judged by competent professionals in the publishing world and deemed to be one of the best in its category, potential readers do take notice when a book wins an award.

Did book sales for Blood Lake increase? Did I recover the costs of entering the contest? Not yet, on both counts … and certainly not when I add the cost of round-trip plane fare to Miami, car rental and reserving nights at the Regency Hotel.

However, the book, if nothing else, has gained a measure of prestige. Who knows what the long-term benefits will be?

What Do You Think?
Should you send your book off to be judged alongside others? That depends. Are you confident you have a professional product that can compete and perhaps even win?

If you think so, then go for it. As Hockey great Wayne Gretzky said “You Can’t Score Unless You Shoot!”

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On December 3, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 1:00-4:00 pm at the annual “Giving Season” event at the Orion Township Public Library (825 Joslyn Rd).

**********

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.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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