8 Essential Keys to Hosting a Successful Book Signing

Book Signing

I know it’s a month away, but I’m having a book signing at the Norman, OK Hastings on Saturday May 31st from 3pm to 5pm.  I will also have a couple of my new books on sale at the store beginning this Friday the 2nd in case someone wants to purchase them in a brick and mortar book store.

I’ve done a book signing before, but in order to have a successful one, authors must do all of the legwork.  This includes:

  1. Facebook announcement – Do one a month before the event and then another one week out from the event.  This reminds local Facebook friends that your event is happening and you can get a rough idea of how many people might show up.  (However, from my experience, people easily click on the “will attend” button but then don’t intend to show.)
  2. Twitter – Use Twitter to blast about the event a few days before and on the day the event happens.  I usually send the tweets out around 2pm because that seems to be the most optimum time to get the word out.
  3. Fliers – Print up a few flyers and post them in the store where the event is going to happen.  Post flyers in the local places where people who might know you congregate.  In my case its the local Country Boy grocery.
  4. Business Cards – Have some business cards printed up with a QR tag which drives them to your website or to your Amazon author page.  Have them on hand in case you run out of author copies at the signing.
  5. Posters of Book Cover – Get a large printed poster made of your book cover.  Get an easel and display it behind you at the table.  It goes without saying that you need a nice black tablecloth or some other dark color to showcase your book.  Black works best and draws their eye to your book.
  6. Consignment Copies – Get some consignment copies of your book into the store at least two to three weeks before your event.  This way you can tweet about it, blog about it, and Facebook post the message that the books are on sale at such and such store.  Talk to local book stores and see if they have consignment rules.  Most of them do, because local authors drive people into the stores to buy other books.
  7. Presence – I suppose this goes without saying, but first impressions are everything.  If people see a grubby, disheveled slob sitting behind the table, they are less likely to approach him/her and buy a book.  Smile at them, chat them up, be sociable, and do more than read the back cover or (for heaven’s sake) have them read it.  Sell your book to them by illustrating your passion for it, but be brief, and be kind if they don’t want to get one right away.  Make sure they get a business card.
  8. Friends Create Buzz – Get friends and family to go to the book signing with you.  Have them stand around your table or just browse around the store for the two hours or so during the signing.  I have a really good friend who shows up and sits at the table with me, calling himself my “right boot” (a reference from Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse).  They make a game of it, but they lighten the atmosphere and make me feel like I’m not alone sitting at a table hocking my wares.

If you have any other suggestions or experience from doing book signings, post them below!  We all can learn from one another.

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