T is for Tips for a Successful Book Signing
I've talked to some authors who have books that came out earlier this year and asked them what were some things they learned on their book tours that can help us newbies. They had some really great advice for making a book signing successful.
- Make it an event, not a book signing. I've hear this before, but it wasn't until someone suggested having a mystery book signing at a small theater a' la dinner theater that it really hit me. I'd much rather go to something that is interactive and fun, then stand awkwardly behind a book table. You'd be amazed how willing small venues are to hosting and even comping a books signing for a local author.
- Schedule family and friends to come in hourly. The thought of sitting at the table hearing crickets as people try to avoid my pleading eyes is a recurring nightmare. Therefore, I've decided to ask my supporters 'family and friends' to come on the hour for a couple of hours. People happy to see you, walking toward your table, and smiling are all going to attract attention.
- Call ahead and make friends. My crit partner, Erin "Hold Onto Your Bloomers" Spock told me that at one time she used to work at a bookstore and handled the Author Relations. She said she liked getting a post card and follow up visit from an author. The more you know the staff, the more they'll chat up that you're coming. Which brings me to my next point.
- Let people know you're going to be there. It is your job to contact local papers, weekly free-readers, online city bulletin boards, and libraries to let them know that a local author is having an event. Be sure to mention any giveaways or prizes that you might have going. Also keep in mind the lead time papers need to get you in. Don't call the day before.
- Don't stay seated. My experienced friends always say that they get the best reaction and have the most fun when they walk around. I'm not talking about stalking people in the aisle of your genre, though I am not above that. I mean have bookmarks in your hand and just smile and chat people up. "Not a fan of my genre...here's a bookmark, you might know someone that is."
- Decorate your table. This may seem like a no brainer, but I really didn't get this until I saw it. I was at a bookstore and a woman was at a plain white table with a stack of her books and a pen in her hand. That is it. I had no idea who she was or what kind of book she wrote. Some advice from fellow authors is to have laptop of screen with your book trailer on mute. Its eye-catching, but not intrusive. Have banner or large sign made with your book cover and a blurb. Candy is always a good idea.
These are just some examples of how to take the terror out of book signings. With a little planning, some creativity, and a sense of humor, you'll get through.