In Part One of this series, we discussed what you need to do to pitch and secure a book signing. Below, I’ve created a list of things you should do to prepare for your signing to make sure that your event goes off without a hitch:
• 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 signing. 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.”
• Be Creative: Once, I went to a book signing for an author specializing in period romance. This particular novel was set during the 1600s so she dressed in a gown from that time period. She also had a castle backdrop that a neighbor painted (he was an aspiring artist, so not only was she doing the author a favor but the neighbor got to showcase his work as well) – people love this kind of thing! Think outside the box, and come up with creative ways you can make your book signing stand out. If the store will let you, bring in food – this is especially great if it fits your books theme. The key is to come up with creative ways to set yourself apart from other book signings, and draw the attention of passing shoppers.
• Learn from the Competition: If you’re still feeling a little unsteady before your signing, consider scoping out another author’s book signing. This can give you an idea of how your event will feel, and what you can be doing to make your event successful. When I attend other book signings, I look for anything that would make me walk up to the author if I just happened to be a shopper who came across their event. I look for things I could do at my own signing to engage with the crowd and draw some traffic.
Now that you have your marketing materials printed, and publicity efforts underway, I’ve also created a checklist of things that you should remember to bring to your book signing. Keep this list handy, and gather these materials ahead of time, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to gather everything for your event.
• 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 signing. 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: Don’t forget 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!
You’re ready for the big day! In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed how you can pitch, secure, and prepare for a successful book signing. In the third and final part of this series, we’ll talk about things you should be doing during your book signing to engage shoppers and what you should do to follow-up after your event.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of twelve books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet."
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.