In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed how you can pitch a book store and prepare for a successful event. In Part 3, we’re going to discuss what you should be doing on the actual day of your event.
The big day has arrived! You’ve got your pen ready, smile on, and a fresh stack of books just waiting to be signed. You are prepared to have the best book signing, ever! Previously, we discussed the importance of publicizing your event to bring in local traffic, but for the most part, a majority of your foot traffic from a book signing will come from shoppers walking through the store. So let’s talk about what you should be doing during your event to attract their attention:
• Be engaged: Don’t sit down if you don’t have to. Smile, walk around, and engage with shoppers in the store. Believe it or not, it can be daunting for shoppers to go up and talk to an author.
• Make the first move: an easy way to set shoppers at ease is to introduce yourself, shift your focus off of yourself and your stack of books and put it on the people in the store. Another great way to break the ice is with a flyer. I typically distribute a simple flyer with the cover of my book, a blurb, and announce that I’m signing books today.
• Prepare your elevator pitch: Not everyone may be interested, but if you tell them about your novel, be sure you have your short and punchy elevator pitch ready. The last thing you want to do is take up a ton of their time.
• Be passionate: Above all, make sure that you share your passion for your book —let your excitement shine through. Passion is a very contagious thing, and is a great way to garner attention for your signing.
• Direct people to your sign-up sheet: Get people to enter your contest or sign your guest book.
• Sign any remaining books: Ask the store manager if they have “Autographed by Author” stickers for them. These stickers will help sell your book when they’re on the shelves, and can be ordered from the American Booksellers Association (www.bookWeb.org). You can get these and a variety of other book stickers for $5 a roll. Don’t watch the clock: If there is additional interest, don’t feel confined to stay just a few hours, but make sure to 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.
One final tip: If no one shows up, remember, that’s okay. We’ve all been there at one time or another. After the signing, be sure to send a handwritten thank you note to the person in charge of coordinating your signing. Again, this will help establish you as a professional, and build a great relationship with that bookstore.
That’s it! Now you have all the tools you need to plan a successful book signing. With the tips and checklists included in each part of this series, you now know how to approach and pitch store managers; how to publicize your event; what items you need to bring with you on the big day; and how to follow-up after your successful 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.