Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Having a Successful Book Signing

An Author Signing Books

Finally, after a long and excruciating wait, your book is released to the public.

You're still basking in the glow of being an Author, and suddenly, along comes an invitation to the first of many book signings at a bookstore.

Now what? How do you make this event stress-free and successful?

First of all, work with the bookstore. They're going to be investing their staff, their time, and their money in you, by ordering advance copies of your book, printing signs and posters to introduce you and your book, paying for newspaper ads about the time and date of your signing, and possibly radio and TV, as well.

There are many things you can do to make the day go smoothly, besides the obvious:
Dress professionally
Arrive early
Be excited to meet new people 
Think of the store as your ‘home’ for the event. If you approach it that way, you'll enjoy yourself, as well as sign and sell books.  People love meeting the Authors behind new books.

* Ask to be seated either close to the entrance, where you can be like an unofficial greeter, or if you're a children’s author, in the children’s section of the bookstore.

You never know if you might get the chance, during a few slow minutes, to read your book to a group of children ... then the children will tell their parents what a great person you are for reading the book to them and this brings even more sales.

* Have some bookmarks printed, or design and print your own. Also have your business cards with you. Both are invaluable. When people walk down the aisle near you, smile, go over and introduce yourself, "Hi, I’m John Smith and I’m signing my books here, today." (Public Speaking: A Necessary Evil)

* Shake their hand and give them a bookmark, or a business card, to take with them.

The whole purpose of a book signing is to sell your books. People buy from people they like, so your goal should be to first sell yourself.

Most of the people you give a business card or bookmark to almost always stop back, before they leave the store, and they will probably look at your book ... some may even buy one.

* Check with the bookstore a week or so before your signing. Ask whether there will be posters or signs where you'll be. They usually do provide them, but if not, make your own. Print a full color copy of your book cover and glue it, and your author photo, to a poster. If you have any book reviews or press releases, glue those to your poster, too.

* You can also print some small bi-folded signs on white card stock to stand on your table. Have them say something like, “Introducing John Smith, Author of “The Little Purple Duck”, or with only your name, if you want to keep it simple.

* If you really want to draw people to your table, bring some cookies or brownies with you and pile them on a plate next to where you're set up.  (Don't laugh, I met an author who did this and she said it worked well!)

* It’s important that you have realistic expectations.
Always hope for the best, expect the worst, and the end result will fall somewhere in between.
* Last, but not least, smile!  Be yourself and have fun! And remember, everyone who walks into the store is a potential customer ... and future reader of your book.

I wish you much success ...

Also See:  How to have a Successful Author School Visit

“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck


Beryl Reichenberg said...

With a number of bookstores, I am out front of the store. I usually have a bookmaking craft for the kids and ask those who pass by if they want to make a book. Kids love creating and while they are busy, I engage the parents in conversation. Some will buy my books and hopefully others will remember that nice lady. Beryl

CJ Heck said...

I think that's great, Beryl.

I'm of the mindset that whatever works, is what works. We're only limited by our imaginations and what feels right to do at the time.

I wish you success!

Linda Phillips said...

Hi CJ,

I really appreciate this and the previous post on school visits. My book comes out in October and I need all the help I can get! Thanks for the good, solid ideas here in both posts.

CJ Heck said...

You are most sincerely welcome, Linda. Glad to help in any way I can. I wish you success with your book -- I'm so happy for you!

Chris said...

I have a book signing for my just released chapter book, Ethan Blecher Braves a Bully, at our local Indie bookstore next month. Being prepared ahead of with bookmarks and posters are great ideas. Must get to work on those.

CJ Heck said...

Hey, Chris, that's wonderful! You must be so excited!

I think I would first ask the Indie Bookstore whether they are having posters printed for your book signing. If they aren't going to, then go ahead and make them.

I wish you much success with your chapter book!

Unknown said...

Just gave a talk, reading and book signing in one of the local libraries. Thoroughly enjoyed it and sold quite a few books. Result!
Unfortunately, I had ordered bookmarks and they didn't arrive on time. However most of the attendees took my cards.

CJ Heck said...

Well, you'll have the bookmarks for next time, then. No worry. I'm so happy for you, Christine and I'm glad it went well.

Janet Heller said...

Dear CJ Heck,

You have good suggestions here for authors. Many bookstores expect writers to do a lot of the publicity these days for bookstore events.

Best wishes!

Janet Ruth Heller, author of the award-winning book about bullying How the Moon Regained Her Shape

Alice Simpson said...

Thanks CJ,
Funny, that as a former designer, I did so many of the things you suggest at trade shows, but now with my new hat, 'author,' I never considered using the same tools-- posters, bookmarks, business cards, and sweets! My book, BALLROOM will be published in September by Harper and although they will help, I will start putting my graphics together, today. Great advice. I look forward to following your blog and successes.~Alice

CJ Heck said...

Oh Alice, how exciting! Congratulations on your book, "Ballroom"! Please let me know when it comes out in September and we can do a promotion for it on the blog here. I would be proud to! I wish you much success!