Book signings are more crucial than ever for traditional bookstores. They compete with online book sales and eBooks, and a book signing can generate interest in an author to bump up sales and get more people into the store. As an author, you need to work closely with any venue hosting a book signing for you to make sure it is successful.

Publicity is Crucial

Talk to the person in charge of advertising at the bookstore to make sure they are contributing toward advertising for your signing. Issue your own press releases to local media and ask the bookstore if you can use their email list as well. If they are unwilling to share, send them a prepared email and ask if they can send it out on your behalf. Area newspapers usually have an Events section where you can put in an ad for your book signing. Get the word out two or three weeks in advance (minimum) so people can plan to attend. Mention your book signing on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds as well.

Signage & Display

Provide professionally crafted and laminated signs you can display in the bookstore and immediately outside to draw in guests. Ask the bookstore if they can provide an easel or two for displaying posters or if you need to provide your own. Full-color pictures of you or your book cover will get people’s attention. Be sure to include a brief blurb with quotes from positive reviews.

Don’t neglect the area where you are set up for signing books. Drape the table in an attractive tablecloth and have a sign close to it so people can find you. Stack plenty of copies of your book to one side and have a few pens on hand, so you don’t run out of ink. Get there early so you can pre-sign a stack of books in case things get busy. An unusual backdrop or table décor that ties in with your book’s theme will generate interest. It might be a collection of old photographs for your memoir or a background featuring a forest lane for your hiking guide. Be creative!

Provide Swag at Your Book Signing

Don’t show up at your book signing empty-handed. Bookmarks, flyers, and postcards are inexpensive handouts for you to distribute to guests. These should feature your book cover, a brief blurb, your website, and Facebook information, and either a quote from the book or a positive review. You may also want to have a bowl with hard candies or wrapped chocolates to set on the table where you are set up. Snacks always draw people to your table.

Dress Appropriately

Appropriate attire for a book signing has a wide range of latitude. If your book is business-oriented or nonfiction, anything that is dress-casual or professional will work. A nice skirt and blouse, dressy slacks, a suit…whatever looks great and is comfortable. Shoes should be comfortable as well – you will be mingling with the crowd and don’t want sore feet to interfere. If your book is a creative guide or artistic book, you have lots of options. Funkier clothes and an individualistic style can reflect your book’s sensibility.

You can even consider “dressing the part” if your book is historical fiction or nonfiction. If you’ve written a history of the women’s suffrage movement, dress like a suffragette. Generate interest in your uplifting romance novel set in the middle ages by wearing a medieval gown. Dressing like a book’s character or in period clothing is sure to garner interest.


Don’t simply sit at a table and wait for guests to come to you. When things are slow, do a slow circle of the room. Introduce yourself, pass out your swag, and invite bookstore customers to check out your book. This can be a daunting task, but once you’ve done it a few times, it will get easier.

Dudley Court Press

Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books and become successful published authors.

For more information, including about DCP’s latest programs, please get in touch at We will recently launched our latest program, Memoir Writing Made Easy. Are you interested in writing your memoir, but don’t know where to start? Our Memoir Writing Made Easy course is a step-by-step guide to help you generate story ideas and write with a style you can be proud of. Plus you can work at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want! The course is written for non-writers. Topics include: setting yourself up for writing success, writing styles and formats, editing, legal issues, publishing ideas and lots more!