Intro to Book Signings


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A presentation I created when working for small publisher, BookPros, on how to set up a book signing. It includes what to do, what to bring, and what to expect.

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Intro to Book Signings

  1. 1. Book Signing Introduction<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Planning - Months Before<br />Setup - Weeks Before<br />Day of Signing<br />During Signing<br />What to Bring<br />What to Do After Signing<br />Other Tips<br />
  3. 3. Planning – 6+ Months Before<br />Figure out where you want to go (local is best for first signings)<br />Brainstorm ideas to make your event more than a signing (Q&A, skit, contest, demonstration, etc.)<br />Drop by store to talk to store manager or event coordinator (calling works also)<br />Give them a copy of your book, a sell sheet, event-specific plans, and marketing plans<br />Select a date and time for your signing; ask if store has an event fee<br />
  4. 4. Planning – 2+ Months Before<br />Alert your publishing company and publicist<br />Update your website with your signing information<br />Spread the word about your signing with publicity and social media<br />
  5. 5. Setup – 4 to 6 Weeks Before<br />Create marketing materials for the event (poster, bookmarks, postcards, flyers)<br />Bring a poster and other materials to the store to display, put by register, or add in shopping bags<br />Be sure signing info (date, time, what you’ll be doing) is on all materials—it can be on a sticker or label<br />Confirm your signing plans with the bookstore<br />Make sure your ideas are okay with the store<br />They may have further suggestions or restrictions<br />
  6. 6. Setup – 2 Weeks Before<br />Check that the store has ordered books<br />Get a carton or two of your books to keep in your trunk just in case<br />Continue to promote the event via social media and publicity<br />Remind friends and family to attend and spread the word<br />Prepare any necessary props, skits, etc.<br />Confirm with the store what items you need to bring<br />
  7. 7. Day of Signing<br />Practice what you plan to say before the event<br />Dress up like characters from your book; or in themed costume if relevant<br />Show up 10-15 minutes early<br />Meet the bookstore staff; be friendly; bring them snacks; brief them on your book so they can answer customer questions<br />
  8. 8. What to Bring<br />A carton of books in case the store runs out or there is a shipping error<br />Pens (add title and website if you want to give these away), bookmarks, postcards<br />Book stand to prop up one copy<br />Table decorations; props <br />A bottle of water, mints, a notepad (to jot down tricky spellings)<br />Candy or relevant food (ask store if this is okay)<br />A mailing list sign up sheet (if you already have a newsletter or plan to create one)<br />
  9. 9. During Signing<br />If your event is only a signing, don’t just sit at the table and wait for people to approach you. Walk around the store. Talk to browsers.<br />Give background information on the book first (how it came about, your writing process, etc.)<br />If you read from your book, aim for 5 to 10 minutes so you don’t bore the audience<br />If you are doing a Q&A don’t let it go on for too long—offer to take additional questions after the signing<br />Interact with the audience—don’t just read TO them; converse<br />
  10. 10. What to Do After Signing<br />Immediately after the signing is over, ask the store manager if you can sign the remaining stock<br />Send a thank you note to your bookstore contact (store manager, event coordinator, etc.)<br />Also let him or her know you would appreciate referrals to other stores if possible<br />If you had a mailing list sign up sheet, email everyone who signed up to thank them for coming and give them more details about your mailing list (what you will send, how often, that you won’t spam them, etc.)<br />Rejoice and pat yourself on the back! Time to gear up for the next one!<br />
  11. 11. Other Tips<br />For new authors, selling around 10 books is great. Typically 1/3 of the audience will buy a book.<br />Don’t be disheartened if you don’t have huge sales—the purpose of a signing is not just to sell books but to endear yourself to booksellers so they will be more likely to recommend your book to future customers.<br />Go to other author signings to observe. What worked well & drew you in as a customer? What should you avoid doing?<br />If you choose to do a contest or drawing during your signing, offer a gift card to the bookstore as the prize. This helps endear you to the store.<br />Find more information about book marketing, publishing, and more on our blog:<br />