Although today’s technological world allows authors to communicate with their audiences without ever leaving their homes, nothing can equal the experience of sharing your work and knowledge with a room full of real people during a books signing.
Successful books signings assist in spreading the word, selling books, building your credibility and profile as an author, speaker, and authority in your subject, and giving you a real understanding of who your audience is.
Unfortunately, new and seasoned authors frequently find themselves surrounded by empty seats at bookstores or other venues. Except for a single ardent fan, a random bookstore straggler, and the bookstore staff exchanging a look that says, “Another author we probably won’t invite back.”
Because events are complicated animals with the devil in the details, here are some crucial tips to help you achieve your goal of a full house by book marketing.
Selecting the right location is half the battle won.
What themes/topics of your book might be a fit for museums, churches, community centers, schools, and colleges? Or art galleries, restaurants, hair salons, movie theaters, the choices are endless. ” What is the venue’s track record for hosting comparable events?” is the most important question to ask.
Evening events should not begin before 7 p.m. and are best held on a Wednesday or Thursday. Mondays may be preferred by some retailers because they host a weekly books club meeting. If you’re going to do it on the weekends, do it in the afternoons on Sunday. You’re up against too many other “nights out” events on Friday and Saturday.
Make money by selling books and feeding the masses.
Bookstores are typically conservative, ordering half or 3/4 of the projected attendance. More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to shipping and return costs. Once you’ve placed your order, keep an eye on your calendar to see if the books have come.
Allow plenty of time for promotion.
The real work begins once you’ve decided on a place, a date, and a time. Start publicizing your event at least a month before the scheduled day. The lead time for media outreach and event calendar submissions is 3-4 weeks. The same principles apply to outreach to local interest groups.
The tip is to keep it short and visual.
Focus on the “What, Who, Where, When, and Why” in your event calendar. To your mailing list, friends, and local interest groups, send a flier or an invitation. Include a graphic (e-flyer, image, etc.) to entice them to participate.
On D-Day, designate.
Designate someone to film or photograph you and your book at the event. Someone should be in charge of collecting people’s contact information for your mailing list. Telling individuals, they’ll be eligible for a free copy of your book is a nice technique to encourage them to give you their information without making them feel exploited.
It’s your big day.
Reading time should be limited to 15 minutes. Don’t haste, and avoid jargon or arrogant words. The rest of the presentation should be conducted in a Q&A format to encourage audience participation. Finish with a book giveaway to a couple of folks who joined up for your mailing list.
The act of signing.
Practice your signature and think about what you’d like to write ahead of time. Make sure to bring a good pen that doesn’t smear or bleed through the pages. If many people are waiting for your signature, keep in mind that other people are waiting.
Use social media to promote the event.
After an event, you want to make it appear as if it was a huge success. All of the social media buzz, newsletter announcements, and promotions you put into the event will help it last longer. It’s an excellent approach to remind folks about your book.