Planning For a Successful Book SigningYou have finished your book and it’s finally published. What next? Getting it into the hands of the public is vital, and the local book signing is the obvious avenue to accomplish the task. It is not as simple as just setting up a table, filling it with books and waiting for the people to come and buy. Successful booking signings take planning.

While the following steps are simple and easy, they are VITAL to providing true success. Most people are familiar with their local bookstores, but don’t know who to contact about selling their book in their store. The contact person varies from one store to another.

Some stores have a Book Manager who will be happy to talk to you. Other stores have a Community Relations Manager (CRM). Your first step is to call the store and ask to whom should you speak about having a book signing.

Plan ahead because most managers are very busy. It may take two or three calls to make contact, however, most managers are good about returning calls. Before the meeting, prepare a flyer to give to him/her. This will be posted at the front door, and one can be placed on the author’s table.

The manager will go over the contract – yes, there is a contract – and talk to you about the percentage cut the book store gets for selling your book. Once you’ve decided on a date for the signing, have signed the contract, you can then discuss what you’ll need for the signing.

Most book stores will do a public announcement over their intercom system, so bring a typed announcement ready for reading. Keep it short and begin with “Attention (bookstore name) Shoppers!”

Setting Up for a Book Signing

A first book signing can be so exciting. Having a few things in place before the big day can bring great results. At your first meeting with the manager, talk about where your table will be placed; Location! Location! Location! Where you set up your table is very important. If at all possible, have your table set up where the customers enter the store.

If you are in a book store that has a large clientele of CD and DVD buyers, ask to have your table set up so they pass by you on their way to the DVDs.Setting up in the book section of the store limits you to only those looking for books. It has been proven over and over that the power of suggestion is strong.

Wherever you set up your signing table, be sure you have two chairs. Some stores use simple wood chairs, but some will offer you plush, overstuffed chairs. People enjoy sitting and chatting as you’re signing. This is especially true if the signing takes place during the holidays. Weary shoppers will tell friends about the nice author who signed her book while she rested from all that shopping.

Don’t Sit Down on the Job! Book Signings Should be Active!

Only a famous author can take his ease behind a table and sign books. Many new authors make the mistake of waiting for the customers to come to them. NOT a good idea. If you don’t look excited about your book, you can be sure no one will bother to buy it. Get up and move about. Go to them!

One of the best ways to reach out to people is to have a handout. This needs to be a small (4″x4″) information paper with a picture of your book, you and a synopsis. Hand it to them and say something like this: “Hi, welcome to (bookstore). Here’s some information about my new book. Let me know if you have any questions.” A friendly chat will inspire them to read it.

The handout gives the customer information and has been proven to work better than a hard sell. Most people will take the handout and will ask a few questions about the book. That’s your opportunity to rave about the wonderful story you’ve written.

If you just sit behind a table and expect them to stop and buy a book, you are going to miss many opportunities. You’ll have time to sit when they start lining up to buy your book!

Simple Steps Bring Successful Book SigningsMeeting with the contact person, signing the contract, deciding location of table, prepare handouts and flyers, move around and meet people – let them know you’re glad they’re there, and last but not least, thank the manager for letting you have a book signing in their store. These steps will help market your book. A book signings is the first step to success.