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What to Do on a Book Signing

Monday, March 30, 2009

In a couple of hours, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a week-long book signing tour with Barbour authors MaryLu Tyndall, Mary Connealy, and Christine Lynxwiler. Click here to see the list of all the places where we’ll be signing this week.

Even though I now have a (very successful) solo book signing under my belt, I sent out an e-mail to the ACFW group last week asking published authors for their best advice when it comes to doing a book signing so that I could share that here, since this is one of those areas of the author’s profession that I’m just now starting to learn.

I have one little phrase that thematically links to the book, and I just write that in every book. It might be a snippet from an actual line of text, or from a related Bible verse. Keep it to 4-5 words. I usually don’t go for highly personalized inscriptions, because while the one person you’re signing to might be a good friend from church, the lady behind her might be someone you barely know, and that can be awkward. The friend’s book can be made more personal with a simple “I love you, sister!”

Also, bring a friend to sit at the signing table with you. It gives you someone to talk to during those stretches of time when nobody’s there, and someone to talk you up to the people standing around while you’re busy signing!

~Allison Pittman

This will sound strange, but I advise keeping expectations low. Book signings are so unpredictable. You never know–sometimes you’ll anticipate selling a bunch of books and you’ll only sell a few, and other times you think it will be a disaster, only it ends up being the best book signing you’ve ever had. Keeping expectations low helps stem the disappointment IF the signing isn’t a huge success. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything in your power to make it a success, but don’t expect every signing to be one.

One other thing–if you can sign with other authors, do it. Not only will you sell more books, you’ll also have a lot of fun with your writer friends. 🙂

~Kathleen Fuller

Don’t sit. Stand. You’re more approachable.

And of course, everyone will tell you this, but. . .BRING CHOCOLATE.

~Kim Sawyer

I always take Hershey Hugs and Hershey Kisses in a pretty basket and have a friendly, fun-loving person ask people as they come in the door, “Would you like a hug or a kiss?” That begins to build the fun atmosphere, and we take it from there with free bookmarks and signup for the book drawing. Then I have someone who does nothing but relate to the customers as they come in. Sometimes she prays with them, or listens, etc. Nothing spectacular, but the people leave with that loved feeling.

~Audrey Hebbert

Group book signings are great! From Karen Kingsbury I learned that it’s good to stand up and greet people. Introduce yourself and then the other authors with you. Have a one-sentence comment about your book ready and also for the other authors’ books. Promote them, and they can promote you. Be friendly. Ask readers what kind of books they like to read.

~Carrie Turansky

I’ve done quite a few signing events with other authors. One thing I’ve noticed is that most people are shy about approaching a group of writers because they feel like they’re intruding. Find a way to connect with customers by making eye contact and focusing on potential readers rather than chatting with each other. Sometimes it helps to stand up and move away from behind the table.

~Debby Mayne

The best advice I can give is to have some kind of drawing for a giveaway at your table. I always have a basket of books, wrapped in clear cellophane, and slips for people to drop into a pretty bowl. Not only does it draw people to your table (everybody loves free books!) it adds to my mailing list! I’m careful not to abuse that list though. Wouldn’t want people to get sick of me mailing them stuff. 🙂

~Elizabeth Ludwig

My advice for any book signing? Don’t expect the Mongol hordes to descend on the bookstore. You may have a line out the door, you may have two people, you may only have someone looking for the place to buy license plates. Take what comes, and thank God for the opportunity. And it’s really a great chance to meet people.

~Richard L. Mabry, MD

*Enjoy the event-no matter how many books you sell
*Have a bowl of chocolate
*Spell names correctly. Have your special good luck pen for signing.
*Have some kind of handout—bookmarks, postcards
*Wear something that makes you feel great
*Bring a small token gift for the store person
*Have someone walk around store passing out your card or whatever
*Have a sign in sheet (helps start your email clientele)
*Sometimes your laptop with your website up is fun
*Send a thank you to bookstore
*Take a picture for your blog,website

~Jude Urbanski

  1. Monday, March 30, 2009 8:15 am

    Have fun, Kaye! I’m sure it’ll be great. I’m praying for you all!


  2. Monday, March 30, 2009 9:30 am

    May this be a fabulous experience for you, Kaye! You deserve it!


  3. Monday, March 30, 2009 4:43 pm

    So excited for you! Keep us updated as to how it’s going!

    Thanks for posting these tips… would LOVE to use them someday!! *grin*


  4. Audry permalink
    Monday, March 30, 2009 7:22 pm

    Have fun! Next you need to do a tour in North Carolina… 😀


  5. Friday, April 10, 2009 8:55 am

    This was a great and timely read. I’m having my first book signing tomorrow at a big chain bookstore in Canada. I had to supply my own books (I have 16 copies) and the additional ten copies are still in the mail.

    It’s a hockey romantic suspense, based on the Toronto Maple Leafs — so I’m baking blue maple leaf shaped cookies! I also have a backup package of regular maple cookies in case I have a baking disaster.


  6. Friday, April 10, 2009 10:48 am

    Good luck with your book signing, Sandra!


  7. Brenda permalink
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 6:18 am

    Thanks, Kaye, I have my first book signing coming up and the tips really helped.


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