Most new authors tend to shy away from the idea of book signings. Some may view facing a book-savvy public as an ordeal; others may simply not feel the gain worth the effort. The cost of staging the event may also be a deterrent. Despite these concerns, however, there are numerous reasons why you should at least consider doing a book signing. As a self-publishing author you should not ignore any potential opportunity for promotion. Book signings can provide another valuable component to your marketing platform. If you decide to go ahead, here are some of the things you should be thinking about in order to ensure a successful event:

Preparation

    • Familiarize yourself with the venue. Most book signings take place in at a bookstore; however, other venues such as libraries, civic buildings, arenas etc may also be used.
    • Communicate and coordinate with the venue in advance to ensure everything is well organized prior to the day.  
    • Plan your date and time to give yourself the best chance. Make sure it is not coinciding with something else that is likely to detract interest.
    • Promote your book signing yourself. Don’t rely on the venue to do it for you. This will also give you control of costs. If the venue offers to help in the promotion make sure there is plenty of lead time to get the word out and also be clear about budgetary constraints.
    • Ways of advance promotion include social media, blogging, local press and radio, flyers, local interest groups etc. Friends and family can also be very valuable in spreading the word. Again, ensure there is plenty of lead time and follow up regularly.
    • Run a competition ahead of time – and give out free books to the winners on the day.
    • Make sure your table is in the best possible position where it will command the most visibility and traffic.
    • Hone your PR skills so you come across engaged and informative.
    • Be prepared to give a reading or presentation.

 

Objectives

  • Your main objective is selling your credibility as an author rather than a huge number of books.
  • Connecting with people outside your immediate network to help expand your potential market.
  • Encouraging people to spread the word about your work.
  • Promoting distribution.
  • Listening to feedback.

On the Day

  • Arrive early to ensure a good set up.
  • Make the table look welcoming and have a good supply of pens!
  • If you have giveaways, make sure you have enough and that you have somewhere to put them e.g. bookmarks which have the name of your book on.
  • Some authors provide a little enticement in the form of a candy dish etc.  
  • Get your email list started by having a sign in sheet or a tablet where people can type in their name and email so that you can communicate with them via email afterwards (thank them for dropping by). 
  • Be well dressed, professional and friendly.

Remember the onus is on you to make readers buy your book. If you have never done a book signing before then why not give it a try. Remember that the value is not so much the number of books you sell but in the chance to connect with the public; alter your expectations accordingly.

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ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.