A lot of authors dread having to do book signings. The thought of sitting at a table in a bookstore, waiting for someone, anyone to approach them, can cause extreme anxiety. Who wants to sit by themselves all afternoon and have just a few people show interest? But book signing events become more successful as you gain a reputation as a writer, so you need to commit.
Book signings don’t have to be tedious if you do advance planning and add a few elements that will entice potential readers to your setup. Handled correctly, you can transform a book signing into an anticipated event with just a few added features.
Offer Something for Nothing
This sounds counter-intuitive, but piquing readers’ interest with a free preview of your book can introduce new readers to your work. Have bookmarks printed that include a QR linking to your website where they can access an excerpt from your book or even a short story about one of the characters.
If you have a gorgeous or unusual book cover design, reproduce it on magnets. Magnets almost always end up on recipients’ refrigerators or file cabinets, where they’ll be a reminder of your book every time anyone walks by. Be sure to include your website address across the bottom edge, so it’s easy to find your books online even after the book signings.
Choose Surprising Venues
Everyone coming to a bookstore anticipates buying a book, but you’re competing with every other writer in the store. Consider hosting book signings at locations that have nothing to do with books but something to do with your topic, even if it’s tangentially. If your main character is a chef, approach restaurants or gourmet food stores. You can find lots of romance readers in lingerie stores. Have you written a book about getting fit? Signings at gyms will draw potential readers already invested in your topic. A quick list of unusual venues to approach for book signings include:
Host a Raffle at Your Book Signings
Have a giveaway that readers can sign up for using their names and email addresses. This not only gives them a chance to win something, but it also builds your email list for newsletters, publishing alerts, and other messages promoting your work. Keep the prize in line with the genre of your book and attractive enough for people to sign up. A gift card for Victoria’s Secret or a local lingerie shop might be lovely if you’re a romance writer. For mystery lovers, a night with friends at an Escape Room would be fun.
If this sounds expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind that you don’t have to give a prize at every venue when you book signings. Instead, collect raffle entries from various locations for a month or two and give away one big prize. You can also draw a winner for each book signing for a free copy of one of your previously published books or something small such as a keychain featuring your book cover or a novelty design related to the book topic.
Stand Out at Book Signings
Decorate your book signing area in line with the theme of your book. If you’ve written a book about trains, display a miniature train set. For a cozy mystery set about the owner of a tea shop, have a formal tea set on one side of the table and (if permitted) offer hot tea to visitors.
Dress the part of a successful author or a character from your book. The phrase “dress for success” is tired but true. An elegantly attired author will draw more interest than someone on a tee-shirt and jeans. If you’re adventurous enough, become one of your characters. Dress in period clothing with a protest sign propped behind you for a historical novel about suffragettes.
The key is to keep things exciting and fun so that people will approach you out of curiosity. Once you have their attention, signing and selling your book is the next step!
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a contemporary publishing company, we help thoughtful people write and publish books for all sorts of reasons. For more information about our Developmental Editing, Coaching, Consulting and Professional Self-Publishing options, please reach us at +1-520-329-2729 or Info@DudleyCourtPress.com.
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