Monday, 23 June 2014

6 Things I’ve learned when doing a Book Signing…


I finally had my first book signing! Cue the Snoopy dance music. It was arranged through a high school friend of mine who connected with me via Facebook. This event was part of a United Way fundraiser to raise awareness for literacy and included a used book sale. Before my book signing took place, I queried a few good author friends about what their experiences were like at their signings. I got a lot of feedback and great advice. One author suggested I wear loud, colorful clothing or a clown’s wig to draw attention to myself and stand out. Given the type of event I was invited to, I so HAPPY that I didn’t purchase Bozo’s wig. Here’s what I learned:

Thing #1 – Make sure you know what type of audience will be attending your book signing. I was anticipating that there would be some children present. Um…no kids in sight. Unless you count a few rambunctious adults happy to get out of work for a while! If I’d known there’d be no kids, I would have had different treats available at my table—something more adult friendly instead of red licorice and gummy fish. I’m willing to bet Jello shots would have gone over well and netted me more book sales!

Thing #2 – Stand in front of your table, not behind it. Go meet and greet people—that’s the reason you’re there in the first place! Get up front and show off your wares. As I mentioned, I had candy available (sometimes that can work like a fisherman’s net) and used a pair of tongs to serve passers-by. I asked them politely if they wanted a piece of candy, and they either nodded and stopped, or shook their heads, thanked me, and moved on. Now had there been kids there, I’m sure I would have been mobbed!

Thing #3 – Engage with everyone who stops by your table. Smile and talk up your books. I started off by telling potential buyers about the premise of my MG/YA time travel series and that I wrote a prequel too. I also mentioned that both books could be read out of order. Not everyone will be interested, but I did manage to sell ten books in three hours.

Thing #4 – Have freebies available for people to take with them. I have trading cards with my book cover on the front, and the blurb and my website link on the back. I also had postcards done up by my publishing company, Musa Publishing with other YA book covers printed on them. All these giveaways were autographed as a keepsake of the event. Plus, potential readers could check out my books when they felt they had more time.

Thing #5 – With table banners coming in at about $120 and up, I decided to go another route. I printed off my two book covers (plus the cover of my free short story available on my website), made copies of them, and placed the book covers in plastic sheet protectors. Then, at the book signing I taped my book covers to the table provided for me. My covers are eye-catching, so if you have many books to choose from, print out the most vibrant covers to display. It’s an inexpensive way to get your books and your name out into the public.

Thing #6 – After my book signing which ran from 11 am to 2 pm, and the oh-so-long drive home, I made
sure that I emailed my hosts immediately to thank them for inviting me to attend their event. Being thankful and having a positive attitude will go far, not only with the people who invite you to book signing events, but to potential readers. They’ll feel your sincerity, whether you realize it or not.

Thank you for reading my blog. Have you ever attended or been asked to do a book signing? If so, please comment and share your experiences. Love to hear from you! Cheers!

Help yourself to a treat...



35 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Sharon! I've got my first back of print copies coming in soon, so I'm sure these tips will come in handy!

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    1. I hope they do, Carrie! Thanks for commenting and best wishes!

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    2. Great tips here Sharon that I really need! I will be doing my first author signing for my childrens' books in the fall. I have saved this post as it will be my ‘Golden Guidelines’ for a signing. I loved the humor here also. Great feature!

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  2. #5 is so smart!!

    And I can't believe you've never done a signing before!

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    1. Not for lack of trying, Mrs. Ohboy! LOL! Thanks for your input too!

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  3. Let me know when you set up the signing with the Jello shots! :)

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    1. Lizzie and Sam - you'll both be the FIRST to know! Wink!

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  4. Yes, that #2 is the biggest thing and should carry 10 stars behind it. Best to be up front and at eye level.

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    1. True that, Ey! Physically meeting and greeting potential readers connects you more than any social media can do. Thank you for your input!

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  5. Great advice, Sharon! Thanks for sharing. I really like the book cover idea.

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    1. Cheers, Cordelia! This was actually a last minute idea, and I figured it can save loads of money for authors.

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  6. Excellent! Glad your first signing went so well, Sharon. Next one have candy AND jello shots.:)

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    1. Good advice, Sloane! So then, I guess you'll be coming to that one. LOL! Hugs!

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  7. Great post, Sharon and especially the advice 'know your audience" :)

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    1. Thank you, Viki! Try to help out where I can! Cheers!

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  8. I usually bring individually wrapped atomic fire balls and caramel bullets--people of all ages are delighted to see them, and since they are prewrapped, I don't have to worry about using tongs.

    If I have a choice, I set up near the food vendors, where people tend to hang out. And I can often trade a book for a very good lunch, and sometimes leftovers. Most food vendor workers could never spend anything like $10 on a book, so it gets me a reader I would not have gotten otherwise.

    I figure if things are going well, the front of the table will have people standing there and no one will be able to see the banner anyhow. I have those tri-fold things the kids use for school projects (I get them at the dollar store) and have photocopies of the covers, along with prices ($10 each, 3 for $25) on them so people don't have to ask.

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    1. You are so resourceful! Bartering--is that like will write for food? :)

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    2. Wow, thanks for your input, Kathleen! Since there was no food vendors and I was placed next to the used book sale, it drew people in automatically. Too bad I didn't sell as much as the used books! LOL!

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  9. Your covers ARE striking! Thanks for posting about your book signing. I haven't done one in a while, but I found I could sell more books if I had a presentation to go with it. Good for you making the adjustment (having no children present). Once my nf book presentation/signing was supposed to be for children and a college anthropology professor showed up with his students. Thankfully I had read a scholarly work as part of research and was able to converse intelligently with them. That was scary tho!!!! :)

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    1. Sometimes just going with the flow works best, Katy! Thank you for sharing your experience! Cheers!

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  10. I love doing signings and book fairs! I find it's a great ice breaker to ask people what kinds of books they like to read. It gives me an idea which series they might be interested in (or if at all) and gets a conversation started that's not immediately about my books. Then it doesn't feel like "selling" so much :-) Terrific list of tips, Sharon!

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    1. Yes, Alan, always engage first! One man wanted to know how I got the inspiration to write my books. It's funny how people open up when you're paying attention to them! Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!

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  11. Great post, Sharon. I've done several book signings, and the treats do help lure them in. Your book covers are so colorful, they surely attract attention. I have a banner that I got from Vistaprint. I think it was in the $30 something range, so not bad. If you sold ten, you did great!

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    1. Good to know about Vista print banners, Rita, thank you! I found people went straight for the blue cover. Seems quite a hook. Thanks for your support, big sis! Wink.

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  12. Lots of wonderful advice, Sharon! I find that Hershey's Kisses are a great draw. Almost everyone loves chocolate and they are individually wrapped, so you don't have to worry about sanitation. ;) Also, you can offer to take and dispose of the wrapper as another little way to interact with people.

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    1. Good idea, Ann! My choice of candy was Atlantis based - gummy fish and sharks, and the red licorice acted like a volcano erupting. Hey, it sounded good at the time! Cheers for sharing your experience with us!

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  13. Thank you for sharing your experience. You are very supportive to other authors. Thank you. Tweeted!

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    1. Cheers, Alicia! I appreciate your kindness and support!

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  14. Great list of tips, Sharon! Thanks for the info.

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    1. My pleasure, Helen and Lorri! Cheers!

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  15. Great post, It is quite a heads up for those who haven't began book signing or interaction with readers.

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    1. Thanks, Euphonos! I like to share my experience to help other authors figure out what will work for them. Cheerio!

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