Monday, March 2, 2015

Book-Signing 101

I've experienced a few book-signings, but not from behind the table. That first time will occur ten months from now. Plenty of time to figure it out, right? But since I'm curious (and excited), I've already started looking into the how-to part. Maybe you can help me with that. Here's a sampling of ideas from various sources. If you have something to add--from whichever side of the table, please make a comment for the benefit of all who peruse this post. 
My friend at a writer's conference book-signing.

The Place - Usually a book store. Could be a library or other public venue. Will this be in conjunction with giving a talk? Think of niche venues to go with your book's subject. Your home might be perfect, but only if you are inviting known friends and family; you don't want strangers examining your home or stalking you.
Setting it Up - Some publishers or marketing consultants will do this step. If not, go in person whenever possible. Be sure to verify with the manager, recheck just before, and send a thank you note after the event. Allow enough time ahead for notifying the public to maximize turnout. Join efforts with another event if more beneficial.
Timing - Consider when paychecks might arrive and times when most are off work. Would it be best around a holiday or to avoid that day? Two hours is a good length.
Invitations - Don't skip this step, whether by paper or email. The people who know you are your best bet. Signs, newspaper promotion, or flyers in the shopping bag at the location are all good ideas. Use as many ways of advertising as possible.
What to bring/do - Dress modestly. See if they will have a table for you. What size? Do you want a special tablecloth or banner? Will they order the books or do you need to bring them? Arrive early to setup. Pack an extra pen or two. Have a notepad for customers to print the spelling of their names. Include a signup list for your newsletter. Have something eye-catching or a treat dish. Chocolate may draw them near. Have freebies like a bookmark or postcard. Wear a watch/phone, but don't look at it often. Stand more than sit. People-watch and smile.
Reality Check - Two things: Come out of your shell during the book-signing and do the above homework for maximum success. You may be busy or not, even if you did your homework. Don't let a sparse attendance define the quality of your work. Believe in yourself!
Appear to enjoy yourself no matter what happens. Engage people in a conversation or handout your blurb cards, offer candy. Others gain courage when they see how friendly you are. If you gain one new fan, consider it a success. Evaluate what to do better next time, or how to better spend your time.

What makes you want to attend a book signing?


Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Great pic you have there!!!

Renae Mackley said...

Glad you like it, Melissa.