Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

09 July 2011

Book Signing Prep

What do you do to get ready for a book signing? If it's your first, try to calm the nervous butterflies (more like F-14 Tomcat fighters) in your stomach and relax. You are not on trial. 

First, make sure you or the bookstore have plenty of copies of your book. I have witnessed the infuriating frustration of going to a signing and the store forgot to order an author's book. This was no just getting started or independently published author, either. I'm talking Rhys Bowen here, winner of every single mystery writing award on the planet, author of numerous series, and published by St. Martin's Press. We were participating in a three-author, two-day signing event. The bookstore had two months prior notice to order the books. Waiting until the week before was not strategically sound. Either the delivery was delayed or someone actually didn't place the order until four days before the event, but the bottom line was there were no copies of her newest release at the store for her to sign. She was understandably livid. She and I went to every bookstore in the city and bought all the copies of her books we could find to sell at the next day's event. And yes, we sold every last one, probably could have sold more if we'd had them.

So make sure you have copies of your book to sell.

Next, promotional materials. Bookmarks, business cards, flyers--whatever you can hand to someone freely. Personally, I'm in limbo at the moment. I'm working on new business cards and bookmarks, so I have none for my event today. But no worries, I'm making postcards and flyers.

How are you going to display your wares? Don't rely totally on the bookstore to have everything  for you. These are busy people and times are tough. Be prepared. Bring your own table if you have one--you can always leave it in the car. Bring tablecloths, book stands, flowers, candy dishes and sweets, whatever you would like to see your table contain. Leave it in the car if the store has something lovely already set, but be prepared to set it up yourself if they're short-handed.

Most importantly, take a positive attitude. Be friendly. Not everyone loves you? That's okay. Be nice. Don't sit there like a grumpy puss in a puddle of pee. According to the New York Times, the average book signing results in seven copies of a book sold. Did you sell more than seven? Fantabulastic! Didn't sell a thing? Well, did you hand out bookmarks or cards? Never underestimate the power of being positive--people can actually decide to buy your book later. But if not you're a nasty piece of work.

ENJOY yourself. Laugh, smile, help people find what they're looking for in the shop if you have a chance. They don't like what you write? That's quite all right--steer them to another author. Karma can be good, you know.

See you at Bookman's Ina store (at Thornydale) today from 1-3. I'll have postcards and maybe some chocolate. Let's chat.

No comments: