Friday, September 26, 2008

I had to laugh when Maria Zannini asked me to share my book signing experiences as part of her continuing market series...seeing as how I've only had one book signing event, and it was just two weeks ago, so I'm surely no expert. BUT...having said that, maybe because of the fact that I am a newbie, I am also the perfect person to ask. I don't have the fan-base that a more established author can use to draw people to the store for a booksigning, which means I have to rely on other things. So here's my short list of things to do before the event to try and make it a successful one:

1. Sign up for BookTour.com You can create an author page with them that has links to reviews, interviews, your website and blog, and more importantly, you can enter all of your upcoming events (even online or "virtual" events like guest blogging). The idea is that BookTour.com lets its reader members know which authors will be in their area for booksignings, and hopefully this can draw a few curious people into the store when you're having your event.

2. Send out a newsletter or an email blast. Go ahead, send it to everyone, even if they're not in the area. I sent one to a friend that lives 2 hours away, knowing she wouldn't be able to come, but I sent it anyway. It was an invitation with a request to let others know. And of course, she didn't come, but she did send three of her friends over to the store who do live in my area. The idea is to get the word out. Your email contacts have contacts, who have contacts, who have contacts...

3. Have the bookstore send you a copy of their promotional poster or flyer. Get it printed in colour. If you work in an office, or anywhere out of the home and you don't have a problem with your co-workers knowing that you are also an author, then post it in the lunch room (you might have to ask if its okay first). I also posted it at my grocery store, my post office, the three neighbourhood libraries, my husband's office, my mother's office, my lawyer's office (I wouldn't normally have picked this location, but we're friends)...so you get the picture. How will people know that you'll be signing books if they have no way of finding out?

Doing these things will probably also bring your friends and family to the store, but that's not a bad thing. It means that when you sit down at that chair and start signing books for your mom and your best friend from high school, that you'll also be garnering the attention of the other shoppers wandering around looking for something interesting to read. And when they see the crowd at your table, they might just think you're more famous than you really are and decide to take a chance with your book. My booksigning went very well and I was surprised at the number of people that I sold books to, or gave bookmarks and postcards to, or just talked to, who weren't family or friends. Hopefully, they are soon to be what I would be excited to call "fans".

Be sure to visit Maria's site today to see what other advice and tips she's sharing from other authors.

3 comments:

Shelley Munro said...

Only big name authors do booksignings down here in NZ. Bookshops are very difficult to work with down here. I've heard others say that chocolate or a small giveaway is a good idea. It also helps to have a friend wandering around the store giving out bookmarks or something like that.

Maria Zannini said...

Wow, Shelley,
I had no idea book stores would be so different in NZ.

Do they give authors a difficult time in stocking their books if they aren't big names too?

Heather B. Moore said...

Great ideas. Thanks!

There are some stores in my area that won't let authors in unless you can guarantee at least 40 in sales.