Friday, October 4, 2013

Essentials of a Book Signing

Whether it’s your first book signing or your one hundredth book signing, here are a few essential things to remember.
  1. Names. Memorize the name(s) of the person (people) who own(s) the store or is (are) representing the store. Everyone loves to be remembered.
  2. Order Books. Make sure you order enough books. Sometimes this takes experience. It isn’t always easy to guess how many people will come into your location. Try to get an estimate of foot traffic from the storeowners so you can estimate how many books to order. It’s always best to overestimate.
  3. Planning for Books. Talk with your publisher about ordering the books well in advance. If you self-publish with Createspace, then three weeks should be enough time to receive your order and make sure everything is correct when it arrives.
  4. Merchandise & Setup. Do you have t-shirts, bookmarks, posters? If not, you should consider getting some. Be sure to set up your table so that it looks nice. It’s all about presentation. Remember to ask if you’ll be supplied a table or if you need to bring your own. Make a list of all the items you’ll need for your space.
  5. Expectations. Make sure you understand exactly what the bookstore owners are expecting. Sometimes they want you to do a reading. If this is the case, get family, friends, and fans to help you decide which snippet to read. This is a great opportunity to engage your fans! Also, talk money up front and candidly. What percentage, if any, will the store receive from the books sold? Will you sell them using the store’s credit card machine? That might cost extra. Do you have your own credit card machine? Will that take away from the store’s profit? Make sure you and the store are on the same page about everything.
  6. Transportation. If you have to lug in your table and supplies, be sure to have a big enough vehicle on hand to tote them. This may sound like a no-brainer, but in all the chaos, you’d be surprised what people forget to do.
  7. Pens. Don’t forget your pens! Choose an ink color that looks good on the pages. Decide where in/on the book you’ll sign.
  8. Advertise. Put it in the newspaper and/or the radio. Better yet, try to get the newspaper and/or radio to interview you.
  9. Signature. Practice your signature! You want to make sure it’s unique. Also, you might want to consider coming up with a tagline. I’ve seen, “Happy Reading!” and “Read On, My Friend!”
  10. Clean Up. If you want to return to the bookstore for future signings, you better make a good impression and that includes cleaning up after yourself. If you’re not into it, hire someone else to do it. Sometimes family members will be willing to volunteer.

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