Monday, March 14, 2016

What To Do & What Not To Do At A Book Signing

I had my very first book signing event over the weekend. It was a humbling experience and a fun one at the same time. Here are some things I learned:

My poster in the library lobby.
1) People you know will tell you that they will come to your signing, but don't be disappointed if they don't - they have their own lives and their own activities. A book signing is not more important than someone's birthday party or sports event. It's a 'maybe I'll go,' so be prepared for that.

I had several friends mention they would come, only one couple showed up. But I was grateful for the one couple! Sadly, most of my friends have kids with weekend games. 

2) Weather will play a big role in attendance. You are not Stephen King nor Jen Weiner. People are not clamoring to see you no matter the circumstances. If it is raining, snowing, etc. on the day of your signing that will probably play a big role in how many people will leave their house to see you. You are not a celebrity!

We had driving rain and very windy conditions, which kept people from even being at the library for regular library stuff, much less my little thing.

3) No matter how many people show up, act professional. You are an author and this is your business. Act like it! No one wants to see a petulant writer who can't believe the room isn't stuffed to the gills to hear about her latest 1000-page fantasy novel.

I had an incredibly small crowd for the opening of my event. I waited 5 minutes to see if any more would show up, and then gave my presentation and reading to that small group as if it were a full house. Sure, I wished there were more people, but I was more than happy to get up there and talk about myself and my books to anyone who was willing to listen.

On the phone with my Mom before the event.
4) Dress for success. Wear something professional. Whether it be a blazer and slacks or a dress and heels, wear what you would to a business meeting. We have become a very casual society, so a well-dressed person grabs your attention. Plus, you might have someone asking to take a picture, and don't you want to look your best?

I had picked out my favorite dress and a red sweater, knowing it would make me feel confident. Red attracts the eye. :-D

5) Don't be fixated on sales. If you sell one book or a dozen, don't be discouraged with sales numbers. If people don't want to buy your books, talk to them, hand them some bookmarks or a flyer. Get your promo stuff in their hands. You never know when they might go online and decide to buy!

I actually did pretty well with my sales. Everyone but ONE person purchased something. But it would've been okay if my sales had been fewer. It's about connecting with people!

Final Thoughts

I wish my book signing was better attended, but it actually turned out okay. I have all of the materials I need now to run another signing or sales event, so I don't need to invest any more in that for awhile. I also figured out that, since I'm a nobody, I really need to go where the people are next time. I've got 4 books, I can put on a quite a display. I already have a vision for a couple of upcoming events in my local area where a sales table might really work for me. Why not?

Let me know if you have any thoughts about your experience with book signings - I would love to build on someone else's knowledge.
Close up of poster.

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