by DiAnn Mills
I enjoy book signings. For those few hours, I anticipate meeting new people and enjoying their personalities. That doesn't mean every one of my signings have sold tons of books, but they all have been successful. Why? Because every opportunity to meet a new reader is an opportunity to positively impact a life.
Rule number one is to have fun! Celebrate the people around you. Offer them a smile and a kind word whether they purchase your book or not. How can I make such statements? Simply put, those moments in time are divine encounters to make a new friend. And if you make a new friend, you are richer for it. The numbers of books sold do count, but aren't relationships more important? Perhaps this new face may not have purchased a book the day of the signing, but the person will remember you in the future as one who displayed a genuine and gracious attitude.
Through the years, I’ve found different items that work in making my book signings successful. What is important is that the writer takes charge. Bookstore owners, managers, and sales staff are busy people. And unless the writer is a personal friend or this bookstore is known for giving their all for signings, you are responsible for making the event the best.
Listed below is a checklist that I use for my book signings. It’s a compilation of many sources, so feel free to add or delete items that are unique to you.
Book Signing Procedures:
Name of Bookstore:
Date and Time of Book Signing:
Is this is a multi-author event, or are there other authors to contact:
1. Meet with bookstore owner.
2. Deliver press kit and include a copy of the book. I also include a promo item and bookmarks.
3. Suggest speaking topics and explain the value of an event instead of a simple book signing.
4. Discuss advertising and ask for a media list – newspaper, radio etc. that the bookstore uses. Unless the writer has a publicist, she/he handles the media advertising. Your publisher may wish to know about the event and assist you.
5. Find out if the bookstore needs posters. You may need to create a poster or ask your publisher to provide one.
6. Prepare ½ page flyers for the bookstore to use as bag stuffers. Your publisher may do this for you.
7. Send the bookstore endorsements of your book.
8. Prepare bookmarks. Include bookmarks from other published titles.
9. Have book cover enlarged onto heavy board and place on easel.
10. Write the announcement for the bookstore’s intercom.
11. Send media info at least two weeks in advance.
12. Two weeks prior to book signing, make sure the store has your books in stock. *Make sure you always have plenty of books in your vehicle.
13. Advertise the book signing and event in a e-mail newsletter.
14. Week of signing, announce event through online social communities: facebook, shoutlife, twitter, linkedin, myspace, etc.
15. Day of signing: arrive early.
16. Day of signing: present gift to bookstore owner – candy, flowers, etc.
17. Bring camera to have picture taken with bookstore owner – include your book in the photo, then send bookstore a copy of the photo.
18. Have candy available. Everyone loves chocolate.
19. Have copies of endorsements or reviews on book signing table.
20. Have sign-up sheet for writer’s newsletter.
21. Make sure your books on the shelves are face side out.
22. Talk about other writer’s books.
23. Move around. Don’t sit. Be available to recommend books to customers—even if it is not your book. You will be remembered.
24. Have door prize. Customers register for the door prize by giving name, address, phone, and e-mail address. Customer need not be present to win.
25. Ask bookstore owner how many books you can sign before you leave. If permissible, place an “autographed” sticker on the cover. Sign the book and slip a bookmark inside.
26. Follow-up with bookstore owner by writing a thank-you note and include the photo from item #17.