Author’s Life: Book Signing Event

Out of the blue I’ve found a major high street bookseller in the UK advertising for authors who would like to do book signings in their stores. Too good to be true, I thought. They’ll never let an Indie do this of course, I quickly questioned. However, with my no-guts, no-glory promotion attitude I thought what the heck and I emailed them to find out.

Yesterday I received I reply saying that as long as I can provide physical books, which I can, then I’m fine to take part. All I have to do is contact each store individually and see if they will be willing to host the event, which I’m told most will. I then negotiate a price per book sold and bob is in deed your uncle. Just like that.

With a rush of adrenaline I jacked my brain into gear and thought, what do I know about book signing? Nothing was the answer that came back, but I know a few people who do…

So I set about posting in Facebook groups and contacting authors I’d interviewed who I knew had done signing events before and the below amazing advice is the result. At the bottom you’ll find a list of the awesome people who gave me their advice and ideas. I’ve added in links to their Amazon pages or books where I can.

Advice for Book Signing

Engage with People

  • Put yourself out there and be yourself. Say Hi to everyone, or they’ll just wonder past.
  • Stand rather than sit behind the table and always greet whomever is walking by. The table is a barrier between you and the customer. (This is the most frequent advice I received).
  • Smile!
  • Ask if they are interested in your genre.
  • Have a one minute spiel about your book so that you can pull them in but not take up too much of their time.
  • Give an accurate description of what your book is about. 
  • Be prepared with a list of books your novel(s) are like
  • Engage in conversations with the reader whenever possible. Many people have lots of questions such as, “How do you get your ideas?” and the more you talk to them the more they begin to open up.
  • Don’t be pushy, but greet then as they come over.
  • Don’t act like a movie star, be a human being.

Set out your Stall

  • Arrive early to set up.
  • Have a couple of book stands to show your books at a flattering angle.
  • Give away free stuff, like bookmarks.
  • Printed up cards with a graphic from the books.
  • Make sure you web address is prominent on what you give away and prompt them to sign up to your mailing list.
  • Have some type of signage so people know who you are and why you’re there.
  • Have chocolate for your guests!

Signing

  • Have a list of comments to write at the ready.
  • Buy good pens and take a few with you.
  • Practice a NON-LEGAL signature to use. All advice says not to use your legal signature.
  • A lot of people want a personalised message so have some paper to check you’ve got the spelling of their name right before signing the real deal. It’s kinda weird when people watch you writing so it can lead to nerves
  • Make sure the pen doesn’t bleed through the paper and spoil writing on the other side – do a practice one first then turn the page and see what’s happened 
  • If the people who buy your books want to have a photo taken as well, encourage them to share on social media and tag you in. Make sure they’ll be able to find you on social media.

Taking Payment

The merchant I’m working with will be handling the transactions, but if you’re selling directly then here’s some great advice.

  • Make sure to have Square or some other payment type app set up on your phone so that you can take credit card payments
  • Make sure to have cash for change
  • Have a helper if possible
  • Writer can chat and sign
    • Helper handle all payments, tracking of sales
    • Helper take photos of event for social media
    • Helper can keep writer on task

Most importantly

  • Enjoy the moment! It’s a great time and I’m sure you’ll have a blast doing it.
  • It can be nerve racking but this is something you’ve accomplished and you should make sure to really embrace it.
  • Keep track of how many books you sell!

A Big Thank You!

A big thank you to the following wonderful people for their great advice. If you have your own advice I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

As always, I’ll keep you posted on how actually organising the signing events goes!

GJ Stevens

I am a Writer. I am many other things too, but I love to write. On 30th November 2018 I released my debut novel, In The End, a compelling apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, immersing you in a fight for survival. Available to buy now from Amazon and receiving rave reviews!

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