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Anatomy of a Book Signing

By Marilyn Baron

You put your heart and soul into your book and then it’s ready to be released to the world. You’ve put the word out on social media but now it’s time to come face to face with your readers or hopefully, potential readers. So you sign up for a book signing.

Book Signing.  Just the words conjure up positive images. There are all kinds of book signings. My most unusual was at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. Then I’ve done signings at RWA conferences and Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight & Magnolia, and a great one called Books Down South. These were a lot of fun and easy because the conference person in charge of organizing the signing has already done the work. You just have to show up with your books and promotional materials, maybe some chocolate.

Recently, two other Wild Rose Press authors and I decided to team up to do a joint book signings and readings. We decided to do three signings in the months leading up to summer. Our first signing was at a neat independent bookstore called Hiram Books, in Hiram, Georgia. It was a big success. People came from hours away and everyone was so wonderful. I met a lot of great readers that I now communicate with on Facebook.

Our signing and reading took about two hours. Each of us spoke for about 20 minutes about our books and our writing journey and then we each did a reading. At the end of the event, we gave away a lovely spring basket.

photo (2)author basket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our second signing will be this Saturday, April 5 at Books for Less-Northpoint at the location in the flyer above. This signing will feature a chocolate bar because what goes better with romance than chocolate? If you’re in the area, we hope you will join us from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Our third signing of the season will be at Abundant Grounds Café at 1600 Kennesaw Due West in Kennesaw, GA on Saturday, May 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. To find out more about that signing, go to our Event page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/222627611265738/

Book signings are fun but take some planning. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Ten Things You Should Know About a Book Signing

  1. Select a location. Book stores are traditional  and great, but try to find something unusual, like a coffee shop. Or a location that fits with the theme of your book. Use your imagination. For example,  we all publish with The Wild Rose Press and we are planning an upcoming  signing at a garden store.
  2. Decide which of your books you are going to sign and make sure you have enough on hand. A good rule of thumb is to bring 10 + books into the shop and perhaps have additional copies handy in the car.  Let the store owner handle the sales, taxes, etc. so you can spend your  time relating to your readers. The usual procedure is for readers to go to  the register and purchase the books and then come back and get them signed.
  3. Decide if you are going to have a giveaway. Will  it be one big giveaway at the end of event or several during the event to keep reader interest? Have index cards ready for readers to write their names and place into a basket or bag to draw from.
  4. Have some of your bookmarks or promotional materials on hand to hand out with your books or to hand out to readers whether or not they buy the book. We also give out pens, mints and  discount coupons from our publisher.
  5. Dress professionally. Bring your favorite signing pen. It would be great to bring an assistant, perhaps a friend, a husband  or a daughter. Melissa’s husband Eric was a great help at our first  signing.  My daughter, Amanda and her friend will be at our second signing.  They can “man” the refreshment table, help with setup, ask readers in advance to write their  names (to get the correct spelling) and if they want you to tailor your      message or make it out to a particular person before they reach the signing table.
  6. Bring some of your other books in case people want to try something different. Bring some bottled water and mints. Perhaps  some Post-It Notes for anything that comes up.
  7. Prepare your remarks and leave time for Q&A. Bookmark the passage/excerpt you will read from in your book.  Perhaps read the blurb about the book first.
  8. Bring a white tablecloth(s) to dress up the signing table and refreshment table if you have one.  Make sure there will be a table for signing, possibly one for refreshments if you decide to serve any and chairs for readers to sit. If not, arrange to  bring one, and perhaps some folding chairs. The typical signing table  would be 10.’
  9. In advance, discuss the process with the store owner, which would include how many books they want, what they will charge  for the books, any financial arrangements, where the signing will take  place in the store.  Are they going to order the books from the publisher or are you going to bring them? Work out the details. It’s a good idea to visit the shop in person so you  can anticipate how the event will work.
  10. Send out a press release to the local newspaper in  the county where the event will take place. Set up an event page and  invite people to the event.  Create a flyer to advertise the event. Advertise on Facebook and Twitter to  create a buzz around the event. Cross promote with the store’s Facebook   page if they have one.  Take  pictures at the event and post them on social media after the fact.  Possibly videotape the readings to post later on YouTube. Or start a Pinterest board to post pictures of your signings.

Happy signing and hope to see you at one of our book signings soon.

If you want to read more about my books, visit my Web site at www.marilynbaron.com.

 

 

Sandra Elzie - April 3, 2014 - 7:06 am

Hi Marilyn,
First, congratulations on the new release and the successful first book signing. You’ve also included a lot of great information here and you’re right, they take some advanced planning to be successful. The last thing to remember is to just enjoy yourself and the readers once you get there. You’re a natural for book signings…you’ve got a very engaging smile. Good luck with the next two!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 7:56 am

Sandy,
Thank you. I appreciate that. Enjoy yourself. Great advice.

Maxine Davis - April 3, 2014 - 9:27 am

Hi Marilyn, I thoroughly enjoyed the signing at Hiram Books – a really neat store and I do hope to make it to the others. They are close to family and friends. Enjoy yourself and I hope you sell and sign many books!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 9:44 am

Maxine,
Thank you for coming to the Hiram Book Signing, all the way from Macon. It was so nice to see you and thank you for your continued support. I hope to come to one of your book signings soon.

Piper - April 3, 2014 - 12:39 pm

This is great information, Marilyn. There is so much here about particulars that may seem small but are big–for example, when you mention to bring a tablecloth. So important. A naked table looks strange at a book signing and who knows if the store will have one? Thank you for this helpful list.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 12:56 pm

Piper,

Thank you. You’re right. You learn as you go. When someone else arranges the signing they take care of the details. When you do it, you have to take everything into consideration. Thanks for commenting.

Carol Burnside - April 3, 2014 - 1:28 pm

Great tips and a stellar basket to giveaway. Best of luck with your signings, Marilyn!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Thanks, Carol. That’s nice of you to say.

Connie Gillam - April 3, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Great advice, Marilyn. Especially about having an assistant and getting a great place to sign.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 5:21 pm

Thanks, Connie.

Debbie Kaufman - April 3, 2014 - 6:13 pm

Great suggestions! The other thing I do is carry the Square with me, an attachment for my smartphone that allows me to take credit cards when I am at a signing where the book vendor couldn’t get my books. Easy-peasy to use!
And, yes, as Carol said, great basket!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Debbie,
Everyone keeps telling me about the Square but I am so technically challenged I would probably not be able to use it.

Susan Carlisle - April 3, 2014 - 8:04 pm

Marilyn,
I’m tickle with your sucess. Thanks for the great info.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Thank you Susan.

Pam Asberry - April 4, 2014 - 12:33 am

Great post, Susan! Now I need to get back to work so I will have a book to sign someday, LOL!

Pam Asberry - April 4, 2014 - 12:35 am

I mean MARILYN! Clearly it is too late for me to be up reading blog posts, LOL!

Marilyn Baron - April 4, 2014 - 4:40 am

Thanks Pam, I know you will be signing a book soon.

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