Stuff To Do Before Your Book Signing
• See if you can get a copy of the store’s media list. More than likely the bookstore will send out press releases but it’s important for you to do the same. Not only will you be able to target the same people twice, but the store manager will also know that you are actively involved in promoting your event.
• Send a confirmation of your signing to the bookstore. It will make you look professional and show the store manager that you are a professional and that you take your book signings very seriously. A sample of the form I use follows this chapter.
• Start tapping into that media list you’ve been creating and begin contacting local media to promote your event.
• Post your book signing information on the Author Appearances section of your Web site. Get invitations made up or make them yourself and send everyone on your contact list an invitation to your signing.
• If you haven’t already done so, get those bookmarks and postcards printed up. Don’t forget to include the ISBN of your book, include a few review blurbs if you have them. Get the cover of your book enlarged to poster size. Then, get it laminated and mounted. I had three of them printed up. 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. Prop a sign up on an easel by the front door where you will be standing and greeting people. If you have the time and the budget, get a set of colorful pens made up with the title of the book and author’s name imprinted on it then when you sign the book, give the reader the pen. It’s another great way to spread the word about your book!
• Get signs made that say: “Book Signing Today” or “Author Appearance;” both of these will help to draw crowds to your table.
Things To Bring To Your Book Signing
• Bookmarks – I try to hand these out like crazy. Sometimes I’ll even hand them out with the flyer when people enter the store. I’ve even autographed one or two when people hesitate to buy a book. More often than not, they return at a later time to buy a copy just because I gave them a bookmark.
• Postcards – bring postcards with your book cover on them. I always say you can never have too many marketing materials.
• Chocolate – I like to fill an attractive jar with Hershey’s kisses or some other small chocolate. Food attracts people and may even keep them lingering a bit longer.
• Guest book – I always have people 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. This is a great way to build a “fan club” and continue spreading the word about your book as well as future novels. If you don’t feel comfortable with a guest book, try putting together a free drawing. Tell them they don’t have to be present to win. People hate that; I know I do. I mean who wants to stick around a book signing for four hours? Well, okay, except for the author. You should do what you can to keep a log of people that purchased your book. It’s a great way to build your mailing list and customer base.
• Make up a small flyer to hand to people who enter the store. They may not even know about your signing but you’ll be sure to tell them. Keep in mind that heavy promotion of your book signing does not just benefit you, it also benefits the store and sends a strong message that you know how to move your books.
• Your favorite pen.
During Your Signing
• Don’t sit down unless you have to.
• Smile, talk and most of all have fun! This is no time to be shy.
• If no one shows up, remember, that’s okay. It has happened to all of us at one time or another.
• Get people to enter your contest or sign your guest book.
• Tell the store manager that you’d like to sign the remaining books before you leave the store and see if they have “Autographed by Author” stickers for them. If they don’t, you might want to think about ordering some from the American Booksellers Association (www.bookWeb.org). You can get these and a variety of other book stickers for $5 a roll. These stickers will really help to move your book.
• Don’t feel confined to stay just a few hours. 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 thank you note to the person in charge of coordinating your signing. Don’t send an e-mail. Send a handwritten note. It will go a lot further!
A Few Final Notes on Book Signings
Be cautious of pay periods when scheduling a date for your signing. For example, I will always try to schedule mine around the 15th or 30th 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. Also, check to see if the store has a newsletter. If it does, 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. Sometimes bookstore newsletters are printed by their corporate offices but generally they print them in-house and are always in need of “filler” items.
Also, contact your local TV stations and speak to the producer. Call the day before (if your signing is on Sunday call them on Friday) and let him know you’ve sent a press release regarding your signing (you have, haven’t you?). If they need a 60-second filler, you can offer their viewers some helpful tips on XYZ. Or, if your book is fiction, play up the “local author makes big” angle. Local stations love that. Speaking of media, if you can get yourself booked on a radio show the day before or preferably the morning of your signing, you’ll really help to boost interest. If you get some on-air time, consider giving away a few of your books during the show. And remember to tie your book and event into something topical and relevant!
Check the book section of your local newspaper. Many times they will announce author events. If they do, you want to make sure yours is included! Be sure to send them a notice of your event at least a month out.
And finally, send a quick confirmation letter when you do get a book signing. It shows your professionalism and lets the store know you’re serious about this. Here’s a sample of how one should look. Feel free to vary these depending on your book and the store.
Don’t let your book fizzle, call us today for a free consultation!
Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
Turning Authors into Success Stories
Office: 858/560-0121 (in Southern California)
(212) 810-6988 (in New York)