Reading Time: 4 minutes

Previously we discussed book signings and how to make the most of your event, engage with your crowd, and generate creative ways to make your book signing stand out. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you can do to ensure that your book signing is a success.

Things You should do Before the Event

  • Publicity: You should be coordinating with the store to actively promote your book signing. Ask the store manager for a copy of the store’s media list that they use to distribute press releases so that you can both target the same people. This will also demonstrate to the store manager that you are committed to making this event a success. You should also contact the local media to promote the event. Finally, don’t forget to submit your information to the Events or Author Appearances section of your local newspapers or events section of your city or town website.
  • Confirmation: Make sure to confirm the details of your book signing with the bookstore. It will make you look professional and show the store manager that you take your book signings very seriously.
  • Marketing/Publicity Materials: If you haven’t already, make sure to have the following items printed off for your book signing: bookmarks, postcards, flyers, and signs for the event. On the bookmarks, postcards, and flyers don’t forget to include your book’s ISBN and include a few review blurbs. You can hand these out to anyone interested during your signing. For the event, enlarge your book’s cover to poster size, and then get it laminated and mounted. I will usually drop one or two off at the store prior to the event so they can set them out, and I’ll bring the third one with me that day. Finally, prop a sign up on an easel by the front door where you will be standing and greeting people. To draw crowd’s attention to your table, make signs that say “Book Signing Today” or “Author Appearance.”

Things to Bring to Your Book Signing 

  • Chocolate – Food will draw people to your table, and can help keep their attention. I like to fill an attractive jar with Hershey’s kisses or some other small chocolate.
  • Sign-up sheet – Having a sign-up sheet is an excellent way to grow your mailing list. I always ask people to sign in at the event. If they give you their e-mail address, inquire as to whether you can add them to your mailing list. To further encourage interested parties, you can offer to enter them into a raffle if they sign-up, but make sure that folks don’t have to be present to win (that can be a big turn off).
  • Marketing Materials – Remember the marketing materials we discussed above? Make sure to hand these out to people who enter the store. Not only does this help spread the word about your book, but it also benefits the store and sends a strong message that you know how to move your books.
  • Writing Utensil: Don’t forget your favorite pen!

Things You should do During Your Book Signing

  • Don’t sit down unless you have to; in my last blog post, we discussed that you should be walking around, and engaging with the crowd.
  • Smile, talk and most of all have fun! This is no time to be shy.
  • If no one shows up, remember, that’s okay. We’ve all been there at one time or another.
  • Direct people to your sign-up sheet: get people to enter your contest or sign your guest book.
  • Sign any remaining books. Ask the store manager if they have “Autographed by Author” stickers for them. These stickers will help sell your book when they’re on the shelves, and can be ordered from the American Booksellers Association (www.bookWeb.org). You can get these and a variety of other book stickers for $5 a roll. Don’t watch the clock: If there is addition interest, don’t feel confined to stay just a few hours, but make sure to stay as long as there is an interest in the book. Once, I booked a signing for two hours; I ended up staying for five.

What to do After Your Book Signing

Send a handwritten thank you note to the person in charge of coordinating your signing. Again, this will help establish you as a professional, and build a great relationship with that bookstore.

A Few Final Notes on Your Book Signing

  • When scheduling your book signings, pay periods should be taken into effect when you’re scheduling. For example, I will always try to schedule mine around the 1st or 15th of the month. I live in a Navy town and since they never fail to get paid on those dates, it really helps to boost my sales.
  • Check to see if the store has a newsletter. Sometimes bookstore newsletters are printed by their corporate offices, but generally they are done in-house. You should offer to write a short article on your book or discussion topic that will draw more attention to your signing. Keep the article interesting and helpful without giving away everything you plan to share with your guests. Or, if your book is fiction, share an interesting excerpt from it.

That’s it! You now have the tools to make your book signing a success! To quickly recap, in my first blog post, we discussed how to structure a book signing to benefit you and your host. An aggressive publicity campaign on your part, strategic geographic outreach, or a partnership with other authors, all contribute to a successful event. In my second blog entry, we discussed how to make the most of your event, engage with your crowd, and be unique, start coming up with creative ways to make your book signing stand out. With this blog entry, you now have all the tools you need to structure, prepare, and run a successful book signing.

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