Happy Friday, Writers!
This weekend, as I mentioned on Write About It Wednesday, I am doing a book signing at Lubbock-Con, an all-inclusive convention for authors, artists, comic fans, general pop culture, and cosplayers of every variety. This will be my third year at Lubbock-Con. It has been an amazing experience each time. I love having the opportunity to meet established Kiss Series Fans, while also reaching a new audience of readers. While this isn’t the typical book signing at a book store to debut a new book, the basic concept is the same.
Book signings, readings and public appearances are vital elements of an author’s marketing campaign.
Here are some tips and suggestions that can help you increase the number of books sold at a book signing.
DON’T – Don’t just sit at the table they have for you. Walk around and greet people in the store or convention center. This shows that you are personable and approachable. Carry several copies of your book with you, introduce yourself to everyone, and let them know where you book table or booth is located.
DO – Have a book mark printed and bring them with you. You can give one to everyone who comes in the store or stops by your booth. Along with the book mark I also have business cards with all of my websites and contact information.
DO – Talk to people. It builds relationships. Be friendly! Tell people hello when they walk by. Ask them if they are having a good day. Book signings are no place to be shy.
DO – Do get pictures with fans and people who purchase your books. When someone buys your book say, “Let’s have our picture taken together!” I always use these as opportunities to post on social media and promote the event. Many people will enjoy having the opportunity to tag themselves in a picture with an author.
DO – To help call attention to my booth and book series (The Kiss Series), I put a red candy bowl on the table and fill it with Hershey Kisses. People will stop and look at the books and my booth (while they are unwrapping the candy). This also works to bring kids to the table (they are automatically drawn to the free candy. Parents are then forced to come over and take a look at what you are selling.
DO – Place a sign-in sheet or guest book on your table where your audience may provide their information and email addresses to receive special promotions and information about new books and upcoming events.
DON’T – Don’t complain if you don’t sell lots of books. Signings make those who bought your book feel good, but they really don’t sell lots of books while you are there. Book signings are about getting the word out about you and your book. You are not guaranteed to sell many books unless you put the work in with promotional materials and advertising for the event.
DO – When people stop by your autograph table, as you are introducing yourself, hand them a copy of your book. Many people will not pick up your book, but most will take it if you hand it to them. If they begin to read it, that’s your cue to keep quiet. My book sales at back of the room and at book signings have increased significantly since using this tip.
DO – Show up with plenty of time to get set up or make sure your area is set up the way that you want. Also give yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the bookstore or convention center and the employees who will be there during your event.
DO – Have fun! Let people know you are there to have fun, even if you don’t sell any books. The manager of the store or convention often feels worse than you do, because they are afraid you won’t come back. Have fun! Create attention! Interact with the people who attend.
DO – Be sure to bring relevant promotional items such as bookmarks and pens to give away to your audience. Any small item is a reminder of the event.
DO- Make sure your books are arriving on time. Check and double check that your books were ordered and are arriving on time. Get tracking information and stay close in touch with the publishing and bookselling staff members who are responsible. (If you’re a small self-published/indie author, you will obviously be the one responsible for ordering your books from your direct print company).
DO – Bring your own pens. Publicists generally bring some, too, but don’t rely on others for this. Keep your own with you, just in case. If you’re like me, you are super picky about your pens anyway. Make sure you have plenty on hand.
DO – Keep your cool. The number of moving parts required for book signings and conventions means may be a mishap or two. Every venue will be slightly different; some bookstore and event staffs will be more experienced with book signings than other, things don’t always happen as you would expect or prefer. Be polite, be helpful, keep your cool.
DO – Thank everyone involved in the author appearance: Make sure to write a note to your bookstore or event “host.” It takes a lot of effort to mount these sorts of events and your thanks will be much appreciated. Plus, it will help you get fondly remembered when your next book is published.
DO – Always sign your books. Be sure to ask the person buying the book who the inscription should be made out to. Never assume the book is for them, and always ask for the correct spelling.
DO – Come up with your signature way of signing your book every time. I always end with “Read on! XoXo (my name) and the date of the event.” With the upcoming Lubbock-Con event I will probably write something along the lines of thanking them for attending, or that it was nice to meet them. It is fun for the readers to have that memory of the event where the book was signed.
Write On, Writers!