Today, AuthorHouse would like to talk about book signings—more specifically, how self-published writers can make theirs a success through careful planning. Sure, you could just show up at the location, sit at a table with a stack of your books, and sign one when a customer appears, but there are some simple preparation steps you can take to help you sell more books and find new readers!
Find out what the location will do (or supply) for you. Don’t assume that the location of your signing will take care of marketing, promotion, etc., especially if you’re not signing at a bookstore. You might be responsible for producing advertising posters, for example. Make sure you ask the right questions; aside from providing a table and chair, your location might expect you to handle everything.
Help with getting the word out. Even if your signing location is going to handle some promotion, give them a hand! Make sure you get the word out via your social media accounts, your workplace bulletin board, and any other appropriate places for an advertisement. Consider local newspaper space, if you can do it economically and within your marketing budget. And don’t be afraid to ask if the paper might be willing to do a feature on you!
Bring the right supplies. Make sure you pack a couple of permanent, archive-safe pens, as well as a notebook for customers to spell their names before you sign the book. If you have personalized book markers, refrigerator magnets, or other gifts, bring a healthy stock of these too.
It also helps to have a sign-up sheet for your mailing list (if you have one), as well as some sticky notes so customers who buy multiple copies can identify who each book is for.
Stay in touch with the venue. Especially if you’re coming into town from another location, stay in frequent contact with the signing location. Don’t just show up five minutes early, pens in hand! As the date approaches, contact them a week out, a day out, and even the day of the event to make sure everything is proceeding smoothly. This reassures the location too, as they don’t have to wonder if “that author” is coming.
Write your own store announcements. If the location has an intercom system, you’ll want them to announce that your signing is going on. Remember, even bookstore employees might not be familiar with you or your book; write a few brief announcements for them to use at various points during the signing.