Book signings have long been thought of as an author’s sole promotion. Almost every author has book signings to promote a book across the globe. No matter where you live or which mall you prefer, if someone gets published they will be there. Yet, this practice is often futile unless you have an established readership. As with any promotional effort, a signing must not be approached with a false impression.
Most authors’ main complaint is public interest. An author may have a group in attendance at the start, however as the crowd dwindles, they are stuck at an empty table for hours. Many authors have to walk around and talk to people browsing through other items. It’s far from the media image of lines waiting for an autograph. It is not an “easy” method of promotion for new authors or even mid-level authors.
There are positive qualities which shouldn’t be dismissed. It will always be the best way for authors to meet and mingle with readers. What better way to personalize your readers’ experience than by being there when they buy it?
The book signing is the “Old Faithful” in the publishing world. They have been and will continue to be one of the most used promotional outlets for authors. The main issue with book signings is the outdated aspects of it.
The main flaw is that signings are just mundane. As more authors were published in recent decades, reader excitement for the average author has declined. It is routine for an author to walk around and find readers to talk to. It is a great deal of scheduling and working for often minimal financial and promotional results.
For the newer author who isn‘t established, don’t forget there are alternatives. You don’t have to waste time if you believe it won’t be worthwhile. The average book signing can be exhaustive and last for hours. You don’t work for an hour and go home unless you are a celebrity, or have brand-name author status.
For those who enjoy book signings, or are interested in holding one. This is a list of methods to liven up a book signing and make the day more efficient:
1. Only schedule book signings on busy days. The best times for having a book signing will be on weekends and around holidays. It is best, if you live near the location, to visit frequently and note when crowds are their fullest. This will make you more prepared of when to schedule.
2. Offer “freebies.” Who can resist a free offer? This includes readers. Have a contest to give away free copies of your book. The management of the store will usually enjoy the reward to their readers and you can have fun drawing attention to your book.
3. Bring promotional materials. This can be a wide range of possibilities. Book marks for adults, candy with personalized wrappers for kids, this is a good way to exercise your creativity and discover new items for your campaign.
4. Verify the store’s policies. It can make readers uncomfortable if they suspect the management will ask them to move. If the store has a “no loitering” policy, set up your table and chair (s) accordingly. Make sure your presence will not hinder customers from coming or going.
5. Respect the store. They are a business. Keep in mind that there will be other people there looking for other books. Respect their desires, not everyone who comes to the store will be a fan. The majority will enjoy meeting an actual author but don’t pressure anyone into purchasing a copy of your book. If you are pleasant and professional, and they are interested in your genre, you might just make another reader!
6. Behave like a professional. You have accomplished a professional feat and your behavior should comply. When you hold a book signing, you work towards a goal. It may be to sell a certain number of books or meet a certain number of readers, but it is a professional aspiration.
Don’t discuss personal matters unless your novel is about them. While it will make you feel better to talk about a bad day, your readers may not want to hear it. You may not enjoy the store’s policies, but you may let it slip to a faithful customer of the store, and knock yourself out of a sale and opportunity to return and promote again.
7. Try to schedule the signing two months ahead of time. During this time, you can hang flyers and distribute other promotional materials with the date and location of your signing. It is most efficient to create these materials after you have lined a number of events up. You can add mini-schedules to the media and readers will know if they can’t make it on one day, they can find you at another store on a different day.