How to Schedule a Book Signing

Posted in Book Signing on February 10th, 2012 by admin


How would you like to sell more copies of your book? Would you like to read excerpts from your book to a captivated audience?

Book signings are the cornerstone of an author’s post-publication foundation. But how do you set them up?

Organizing book signings, readings, and public appearances is one of the most important parts of a successful marketing campaign.

A book signing or reading is a bookstore event that features you and your latest book. This is your opportunity to meet potential buyers face to face. Plus it adds a personal touch to your promotion efforts. Many customers may feel more motivated to purchase a copy of your book if they hear it explained or read from your point of view. And the opportunity to get a copy signed by the author doesn’t hurt, either!

Independent book stores and larger chain retailers both organize book signings. Your chances for finalizing an appearance are greater with the independents. They have to compete with larger chains and are therefore more willing to support local authors. In order to pinpoint potential book stores, check your local newspapers or see if book retailers in your area offer a calendar of events or post upcoming events on a public bulletin board.

By asking around for the owner of the store or the communications manager you can typically find the appropriate person with whom to discuss your event. In many cases, both the large and small retailers will have their events planned weeks or even months in advance. Plan early.

When you have a list of people and/or stores you plan on contacting, prepare your pitch. Have a small script that outlines what your book is about and why people would be interested in meeting you or reading the book. The store manager or PR person will most likely ask. If your subject matter is timely, all the better! Remember, this is the point during which the store manager or book buyer will be screening your presentation skills, either over the phone or in person. If they are not captivated by your presentation, they will have very little faith in your ability to captivate a crowd. Be extroverted and dynamic.

It also helps to be concise. Understand that these are busy people. You want to sell them on your event fast. Have your press release and/or sell sheet ready. It’s helpful in case they ask for a copy or if they ask about specific information about the book. They may want to know the retail price, the retail margin, and the ISBN number immediately so they can order a review copy themselves prior to deciding. Advise them of the publication date after which they can order the book wholesale through the Ingram or Baker & Taylor databases, or retail from your own webpage address. Provide them with your URL. They might be impressed enough by your initial marketing initiatives to go forward with the book signing.

Offer to help them with promotion. Especially if you’re targeting smaller book stores, they will be more interested in offering to host an event if they know you will be absorbing some of the burden of marketing it. Tell them all your friends and family will be attending the event (and then make sure to invite your friends and family!), and if it’s within the scope of your marketing budget, offer to advertise in the local paper at your expense. Remember, the easier it is for the book store, the more likely they’ll say yes.

Follow-up with prospective book stores who have not confirmed dates. Selling yourself and your book is a number’s game, and as any salesperson will tell you, the amount of contact is directly proportionate to the amount of sales. So be persistent without being annoying. If, after three or four unsuccessful attempts with a particular store or person, move on to another prospect.

Brent Sampson is the President & CEO of Outskirts Press Publishing at and author of Publishing Gems: Insider Information for the Self-Publishing Writer. Information at

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Planning an Exceptional Book Signing from Start to Finish

Posted in Book Signing on September 30th, 2011 by admin


Written by: Penny C. Sansevieri

So what do you do when you have a book signing and no one shows up? Sure that may sound like the beginning of a great joke but for many of us, it’s our worst nightmare.

One of the scariest moments in my life was my first book signing. Even more frightening than having my first signing was the fact that I was doing it out of town and wouldn’t have my support group of friends to stop by and play the role of excited fans. But I had done everything by the book so to speak. First, I sent some advance copies of the book to the storeowner, I mailed him the book cover posters, I made up bag stuffers and sent the proper press releases to local media. To my chagrin when I arrived there, the box containing my marketing materials was still sealed. Not one poster was out, not one bag stuffer had been used. Worst of all, it poured rain that day. So there I sat, my dreams of crowds lining up outside the little shop vanished with each passing second. When one person did show up, I nearly jumped out of my chair to embrace them. Thankfully, I managed to contain myself. About an hour after the book signing started, I noticed several people in the store, none of them paying attention to me. So, I got up and began to walk around the store. I carried my book with me and each time I came across someone perusing romance, I would engage them in conversation. Often, I would hand them a copy of my book and tell them I was in there for a book signing. The mere act of holding my book in their hand induced ownership and often, a sale would follow. But it wasn’t so much about the sale. In the end it was about selling myself. It was about becoming a memorable author. If the person I was speaking to wasn’t interested in romance, perhaps they had a friend who was. After that first signing, I realized that a successful book signing isn’t having people lined up out the door, although if that were to happen, I’d be in book signing heaven! It’s about getting your books in the store, having a place to sit and maybe, if you’re lucky, having one person show up. That first book signing really helped to put this into perspective for me.

The Buddy System

Some authors like to have another person there signing with them so they don’t have to sit there looking lost and lonely. I’ve done it both ways and they each have their merits. First of all, the buddy system will probably bring in more people since you are essentially doubling your publicizing efforts (or at least you should be). You can turn a simple book signing into an event. One of you can be having a book discussion or workshop, while the other author is signing. It’s a great way to draw a crowd and keep a crowd. Also, often it’s easier to get publicity when there’s more than one author present. Unless, of course, you’re Nora Roberts, in which case you can probably ignore the buddy system altogether. This type of book signing works well for unknown authors if you have a specific program or want to have a book signing that lasts all day.

No Sitting On The Job

As I mentioned previously, don’t just sit there and smile. Get up, move around and engage people in conversation. Would you believe I’ve been told that some shoppers are actually intimidated to just walk up and talk to an author? But, if you speak to them first you’re breaking the ice and maybe, making a sale. Take your focus off of yourself and your stack of books and put it on the people in the store. As with anything in marketing you’re really selling yourself and trying to focus on people in the process. Try getting up from your chair to greet people as they enter the store. I usually have a small flyer made up with the cover of my book, a blurb about it and I tell people I’m signing books today. Smile and talk to them and hand them a book. Begin to tell them about your novel. Get them excited about it—let your passion shine through. Passion is a very contagious thing. People want to feel that same passion and folks love being around passionate people.

Go See What the Competition is Doing

Have you ever visited someone else’s book signing? I did once and I felt like everyone there knew what I was up to. I wanted to see what it was about, to see what other authors did. Some of your best ideas or taboos will come from watching other people. I remember the first one I went to, I entered the store and there she was, the smiling author, pen ready and stack of books looming over the table. I wondered if I were just a customer that happened into the store, what would make me walk up to her unless my specific purpose had been to attend this signing? Then, I wondered what I could do to draw that traffic. Face it, no matter how much publicizing you do, unless you’ve got a spot on Good Morning America to talk up your signing, most of your foot traffic will probably just be shoppers. If you’re really lucky you’ll see some frantic people in search of last minute gifts, autographed books make great presents!

If you want to pick up tips from the pros, you might try visiting a celebrity signing or two. Check out the Publisher’s Weekly Web site at for a listing of upcoming signings. Also the book section of your local newspaper is another great resource. Also, if you’re going on the road for any reason, check out these sites and see if there’s an event you can attend while you’re away.

Be Unique!

If your book involves anything that you can tie in with a theme or a prop, all the better. I went to a book signing for an author who specialized in period romance. This particular novel was set during the 1600’s and she dressed in a gown fitting to the time. She also had a castle backdrop that a neighbor painted for her. Her neighbor was an aspiring artist, so not only was she doing the author a favor but the neighbor got to showcase her work as well. People really love this kind of a thing. I mean anyone can sit at a table and smile, but sitting there in a corset for four hours takes real passion. So give some thought to what you can do to tie in a theme or prop into your signing. You don’t necessarily have to show up in costume, but try to do what you can to set yourself apart from the rest. The important thing here is that while it’s good to learn from the competition, you don’t necessarily want to be exactly like them either.

Stuff To Do Before Your Book Signing

· See if you can get a copy of the store’s media list. More than likely the bookstore will send out press releases but it’s important for you to do the same. Not only will you be able to target the same people twice, but the store manager will also know that you are actively involved in promoting your event.
· Send a confirmation of your signing to the bookstore. It will make you look professional and show the store manager that you are a professional and that you take your book signings very seriously. A sample of the form I use follows this chapter.
· Start tapping into that media list you’ve been creating and begin contacting local media to promote your event.
· Post your book signing information on the Author Appearances section of your Web site. Get invitations made up or make them yourself and send everyone on your contact list an invitation to your signing.

· If you haven’t already done so, get those bookmarks and postcards printed up. Don’t forget to include the ISBN of your book, include a few review blurbs if you have them. Get the cover of your book enlarged to poster size. Then, get it laminated and mounted. I had three of them printed up. I will usually drop one or two off at the store prior to the event so they can set them out and I’ll bring the third one with me that day. Prop a sign up on an easel by the front door where you will be standing and greeting people. If you have the time and the budget, get a set of colorful pens made up with the title of the book and author’s name imprinted on it then when you sign the book, give the reader the pen. It’s another great way to spread the word about your book!
· Get signs made that say: “Book Signing Today” or “Author Appearance” both of these will help to draw crowds to your table.

Things To Bring To Your Book Signing

· Bookmarks – I try to hand these out like crazy. Sometimes I’ll even hand them out with the flyer when people enter the store. I’ve even autographed one or two when people hesitate to buy a book. More often than not, they return at a later time to buy a copy just because I gave them a bookmark.
· Postcards – bring postcards with your book cover on them. I always say you can never have too many marketing materials.
· Chocolate – I like to fill an attractive jar with Hershey’s kisses or some other small chocolate. Food attracts people and may even keep them lingering a bit longer.
· Guest book – I always have people sign in at the event. If they give you their e-mail address, inquire as to whether you can add them to your mailing list. This is a great way to build a “fan club” and continue spreading the word about your book as well as future novels. If you don’t feel comfortable with a guest book, try putting together a free drawing. Tell them they don’t have to be present to win. People hate that; I know I do. I mean who wants to stick around a book signing for four hours? Well, okay, except for the author. You should do what you can to keep a log of people that purchased your book. It’s a great way to build your mailing list and customer base.
· Make up a small flyer to hand to people who enter the store. They may not even know about your signing but you’ll be sure to tell them. Keep in mind that heavy promotion of your book signing does not just benefit you, it also benefits the store and sends a strong message that you know how to move your books.
· Your favorite pen.

During Your Signing

· Don’t sit down unless you have to.
· Smile, talk and most of all have fun! This is no time to be shy.
· If no one shows up, remember, that’s okay. It has happened to all of us at one time or another.
· Get people to enter your contest or sign your guest book.
· Tell the store manager that you’d like to sign the remaining books before you leave the store and see if they have “Autographed by Author” stickers for them. If they don’t, you might want to think about ordering some from the American Booksellers Association ( You can get these and a variety of other book stickers for $5 a roll. These stickers will really help to move your book.
· Don’t feel confined to stay just a few hours. Stay as long as there is an interest in the book. Once, I booked a signing for two hours; I ended up staying for five.

What To Do After Your Book Signing

Send a thank you note to the person in charge of coordinating your signing. Don’t send an e-mail. Send a handwritten note. It will go a lot further!

A Few Final Notes on Book Signings

Be cautious of pay periods when scheduling a date for your signing. For example, I will always try to schedule mine around the 15th or 30th of the month. I live in a Navy town and since they never fail to get paid on those dates, it really helps to boost my sales. Also, check to see if the store has a newsletter. If it does, offer to write a short article on your book or discussion topic that will draw more attention to your signing. Keep the article interesting and helpful without giving away everything you plan to share with your guests. Or, if your book is fiction, share an interesting excerpt from it. Sometimes bookstore newsletters are printed by their corporate offices but generally they print them in-house and are always in need of “filler” items.

Also, contact your local TV stations and speak to the producer. Call the day before (if your signing is on Sunday call them on Friday) and let him know you’ve sent a press release regarding your signing (you have haven’t you?). If they need a sixty-second filler, you can offer their viewers some helpful tips on XYZ. Or, if your book is fiction, play up the “local author makes big” angle. Local stations love that. Speaking of media, if you can get yourself booked on a radio show the day before or preferably the morning of your signing you’ll really help to boost interest. If you get some on-air time, consider giving away a few of your books during the show. And remember to tie your book and event into something topical and relevant!

Check the book section of your local newspaper. Many times they will announce author events. If they do, you want to make sure yours is included! Be sure to send them a notice of your event at least a month out.

Finally, have fun! It’s your big day and you’ve earned every glorious minute of it!

About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews and is being called the “roadmap to publishing success.” Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:[email protected]
Copyright ã 2005 Penny C. Sansevieri

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Book Signing for Experts

Posted in Book Signing on August 16th, 2011 by admin


Think of your book on the bookstore shelf trying to attract the attention of potential new owners. Crammed together with hundreds of other books, only the spine visible to the roving eyes of readers, your book needs a little help from its creator. So much effort has gone into publishing it; can you afford to abandon it just as it hits the bookstore shelves? Your book needs your help.

Why not orchestrate a publicity-generating event such as a book signing with a mini-seminar, discussion, or reading where you can autograph your book? You can make a book signing tour worth your effort. If you are a new or emerging author with a small publisher, resources for promoting your book are likely to be very limited. If you are a professional speaker and an author, you can raise your celebrity status by doing a book signing in cities where you speak.

A book signing in a bookstore places your book “center stage” for a while, away from the crowded shelf. The event establishes a “pull” system which means the bookstore and its patrons ask for your books rather than the author and publisher having to persuade the bookstore to stock them. The author arrives as a celebrity.

There are many other venues in addition to bookstores. Jon Hanson, author of Good Debt Bad Debt, spent a lot of time writing in a coffee shop bakery. So many customers stopped by his table to check on the book’s progress that the owner of the coffee shop asked Jon to do a signing when the book was published. Bagels and Books?

If your book is nonfiction, conversations with your audience will indicate that you are a source of expert information. You have done a lot of research in this area. You may become a key resource in their future exploration of the subject matter. People generally take pride in having met and discussed a book with its author. There is reflected glory which sets that person apart from other readers and gives them a connection to the source.

If you’re not doing book signings, you may be leaving money on the table, overlooking an avenue to increase profits. There are many ways to promote your book, but none is as “up close and personal” as a book signing event.

Jo Condrill is a professional speaker, author, and consultant. She has conducted successful book signings from coast to coast, including one at the Barnes and Noble Store in Rockefeller Center, New York City. Jo is the author of: “Take Charge of Your Life: Dare to Pursue Your Dreams” and coauthor of “From Book Signing to Best Seller,” which was named the Best Writers Reference Guide of 2002 by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Jo is also coauthor of “101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly.” This book has been translated into five languages by foreign publishers: Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, and Arabic. All of Jo’s books are available in bookstores and libraries throughout the US. Jo builds on her service as a civilian leader in the Pentagon and on the Board of Directors for Toastmasters International.

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Book Signings Are Pure Gold

Posted in Book Signing on August 10th, 2011 by admin


So you’ve written a book, had it published by a publishing company and you are now facing the dreaded book signing or book launch. Your palms sweat at the thought of facing droves of people and actually having to talk to them. You are a writer, not a salesperson, right? Wrong! If you do not have the guts and determination to sell your own work, then why should anyone else do it for you?

Book signings are your lifeline – your best friend – and they are pure gold.

Before you step out into virgin territory and cross that boundary that is called a book signing, endless questions will bombard your brain. How many books should you expect to sell? What if you don’t sell any books? And what if someone should ask that one little question that makes you quiver and shake in your shoes: “What’s your book about?”

In Canada, according to many of the managers at Coles, Indigo and Chapters bookstores, an average book signing is approximately $100.00 in retail sales. So if your book retails for $20.00, then selling 5 books would be considered okay. However, many authors have gone home without even one sale. Approximately 80% of authors will sell $100.00 or less; 15% will achieve $100 – $300.00 in sales; and only 5% of Canadian authors will see more than $300.00 in consistent sales. So where are the hundreds of book sales that you hear about in the news, and the long lines of people anxiously waiting all night? Unless you are J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Nora Roberts or you are on the New York Times Best Selling list, the reality is there won’t be a lineup longer than a family of four, and $100.00 in sales represents a good Canadian book signing event. Now that is not to say that you can’t sell more.

What makes a good book signing? YOU DO! You set the tone by how you lay out your display on the table, how you dress and stand, how you think about signings, how you approach people, and how excited you are about your book. You represent your craft, your talent and your product. So how can you achieve sensational sales?

Follow these simple guidelines and watch your sales soar:

  • Tables should be covered with clean tablecloths. Books should be displayed in stands and not left in stacks on the table. Signage should clearly state why you are there and who you are. Posters with your book covers, book reviews and excerpts can be displayed if you have the use of a wall or a tabletop easel. Draw people in by giving away a prize. Have them fill out their email address on the entry form so that you can invite them to sign up for your e-newsletter. And NEVER, EVER GIVE AWAY YOUR BOOK. If the prize is your book, do not be surprised when your sales are non-existent. Why should they buy when they can win it?
  • Present yourself in a friendly, approachable but professional manner by dressing accordingly. It is also important to dress according to the image you present as a genre or expert writer. For example, if you’re writing a book on riding with the Hell’s Angels and the photo on the back of your book is of you in black leather pants, don’t show up in a three-piece suit. However if you’re writing steamy romance novels, don’t expect to show up wearing a dress with a ripped bodice. Professionalism is key. Dressy casual always works. And during Christmas time, glitter attracts attention. If nothing else, people will stop by just to see what all the sparkle is about.
  • Body language can make or break a sale. If you stand with your arms crossed, no matter how comfortable you are, people will assume you don’t want to be bothered. They will think you are unapproachable and will steer clear. You will get the same reaction if you turn your back. NEVER turn your back to talk to someone behind your table. Many sales have been lost by this thoughtless gesture. Stand with your arms loose by your sides or clasped loosely in front or behind your back. This shows that you are relaxed and easygoing. Monitor the crowd by sitting for short durations. Every crowd is different. Some prefer to check out your table while you sit. But never hide behind your table! Once you or they initiate conversation, stand up, smile and sell them on your personality.
  • When you are preparing for an event, make sure your attitude is turned UP! Attitude is contagious! If you are excited about your signing, everyone you meet will be excited. If you are dreading it or telling yourself you hate book signings, everyone will see that and your sales will take a nosedive. Love those book signing events! They are pure gold! There are golden opportunities at every event. Media will often contact an author they have seen at a signing. I have personally had four interviews within two months because of a chance encounter at a signing. And there is no better way to become known than by public exposure.
  • Everyone you meet should be approached with respect. Treat them as if they are the President of your Fan Club. Have a handout ready to give to anyone who passes by, but do not be the pushy credit card salesperson. Look for eye contact. Smile and greet them. Then offer something to draw this potential fan to your table. Business cards, brochures and entry forms for a contest work wonders. Talk to them while they fill out the form and tell them: Who you are, What you are doing, Where you’ll be next, When you’ll be there and Why they should buy your book now.
  • Know exactly what to say when someone asks: “What is your book about?” Think of a movie trailer for your book. How would the announcer describe it? Be prepared by writing down a script and practicing it before your signing. Be enthusiastic, positive and animated, and your audience will be intrigued. When the opportunity presents itself, hand them a copy of your book to feel and look at. The action of placing that book in their hands will dramatically increase your sales. Invite them to read the first page or chapter. Then let them know that you would be happy to autograph the book for them.
  • High, consistent sales depend on three things: a good product, knowing your target audience and having a great attitude. If your product is full of obvious typos and glaring errors (especially on the back cover), you’ve wasted your money and your potential fan’s time. Make sure your books have been edited by three pair of unbiased eyes before you self-publish. Nothing will turn off a sale faster than improper use of punctuation and spelling missteaks. Know your target audience. Know exactly who would buy your book for themselves and who would buy it as a gift. And always monitor your attitude, reminding yourself throughout the day that every person you meet is a potential sale.

Follow the guidelines above and remember that the most important aspect of any event can be summed up by two words: HAVE FUN! Relax and enjoy the fact that you are a published author and that you have a book that is worthy of public adoration. If you have an exceptional product, are positive and lively, know your target audience and follow these steps, then you will be one of the few authors in Canada who will consistently sell more than $300.00 per book signing. You must BELIEVE in your book in order to effectively sell it. You must also believe in yourself, in your skills as a writer. You must become a shameless promoter. Why should you feel shame? Your book is worth promoting, right? Enjoy every opportunity you have of turning a book signing into pure gold.

“Fear is contagious. So is courage. Courage can’t help you, unless you allow it to.” – Cheryl Kaye Tardif

© 2005 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of Whale Song, Divine Intervention and upcoming new release, The River. She has appeared on television and radio, and has been featured in newspapers and magazines across Canada and the US. A former motivational speaker for a well-known international company, she has inspired people to achieve goals they thought were impossible, and she uses her motivational skills to encourage others. According to bookstore managers, Cheryl has the highest and most consistent book signing sales in Edmonton, and has often surpassed $500.00 in sales for one signing. She is also the owner of, a site that promotes Canadian and American authors, and she is the creator of A.F.T.E.R. – Authors For Tragic Event Relief,

For more information, email Cheryl at [email protected] or visit her website:

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Book Signing: Fun and Profit for Writers and Readers

Posted in Book Events on September 20th, 2010 by admin


by: Jo Condrill

Have you ever walked into a bookstore when an author is scheduled to do a book signing and found no one in the audience? Do you shy away from autograph tables, perhaps fearing that someone may ask you to buy a book? Consider the other side of the equation. A book signing is an opportunity to learn about the author and what makes a person undertake the challenge of writing a book. If you’re a reader, you can delve into background information about the book. If you are an aspiring author, you can learn from another author’s experiences. Every book signing is an opportunity to learn-without obligation to buy anything.

Book signings can be held almost anywhere. Is your book about gardening, nutrition, or money? Why not have an event at a large garden supply outlet, a spa, or a banking institution? Are you writing about an exciting period of music or interesting musicians? Then consider one of the big local music stores for the seminar. On the other hand, if you’re a speaker or professional seminar leader, why not sign your books in a nearby bookstore in addition to selling them at the back of the room when you give your next presentation?

To help publicize a book signing, coordinate it with a special day, like Grandparents Day, or some topical holiday that has special meaning in context with the subject matter of your book. Several Internet web sites offer hundreds of dates that you can use for a public relations opportunity. Think of different and innovative ways to connect your book and your ideas to something that is already scheduled to happen in the area. For instance, if your book has anything to do with women’s health, you may tie into a local Race for the Cure event, which supports research on breast cancer. Or, dream up a day of your choice to publicize your book. “Today is national TAKE CHARGE day!” Couple a book signing with seminars or speeches you have already scheduled, a family reunion, or other special event. Where would your target audience likely gather? Find that place and go there!

Provide a mini-seminar on the topic of your book. Some people in your audience may have already read it and want to pose specific questions. Prepare comments, anecdotes, and insights in advance. Greet your public enthusiastically and welcome their questions.

Book signings can be exciting for writers and readers and profitable for everyone.

Jo Condrill is a professional speaker, author, and consultant. She has conducted successful book signings across the US, including one in Rockefeller Center in New York City. “From Book Signing to Best Seller: An Insider’s Guide to Conducting a Successful Low-Cost Book Signing Tour,” which was coauthored by John B. Slack, was named the 2002 Best Writer’s Reference Guide by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

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Book Events That Really Sell

Posted in Book Events on August 16th, 2010 by admin

by Katherine Swarts


You’ve arranged a book signing, or reserved an expo table. You’re counting the days to the big event, dreaming every night of mile-long customer lines and overflowing cash boxes.

Unfortunately, that scenario really is “in your dreams” for most writers. If you aren’t sufficiently popular to draw interest on pure name recognition, you may be lucky to get ten visitors and one sale.

There are ways to improve your chances, though. Here are my candidates for the top five things that attract browsers to a book signing or expo table.

  1. Relevance. When considering where to exhibit, don’t stop with bookstores and book expos; hold your health-book signing at a fitness center, or display local-history books at your town’s centennial fair. You may actually sell more at a “non-book” event where attendees are more focused and direct competition less.
  2. Advance publicity. Give “save the date” cards to your friends. Post announcements—preferably weekly for a month in advance—on all your blogs and social networking accounts. (Even out-of-state fans have acquaintances and relatives in your area.) For individual signings, send press releases to local media—and be sure the host business announces the event in its newsletters/blogs and on its Web site. Provide posters for hosts to display the month of the event. (Incidentally, minimize time competition—don’t schedule signings when half the town is traveling or at a major local festival!)
  3. Visual appeal. For an expo, place an eye-catching ad—with book cover image—in the official program. For any event, use a large, colorful banner sign—preferably set high enough to read from across the room. Arrange about a dozen of your books—not so many that they look cluttered—on the display table. Also to avoid a “cluttered” appearance, use a low-hanging tablecloth (solid-colored, preferably white or pastel) to hide your boxes.
  4. Giveaways. A bowl or platter of “sweet nibbles” always draws visitors. Offer something more permanent, too; bookmarks with cover images and lists of additional titles are always good. Or provide a premium related to your topic (fudge for a dessert cookbook, tiny stuffed kittens for a story featuring a cat) and marked with your Web address.
  5. Good attitude. The number-one quality of every successful business owner. Make eye contact, with a wave and a smile, whenever someone glances your way; few can resist the implied invitation. Smile even when you think no one is looking; it adds to your table’s visual appeal. Remember that rearranging your display, eating lunch at your booth, and leaving the table unattended are sure ways to miss all but the most determined customers. And even if only two people stop all day (one to raid your candy dish and one to tell you your book should be banned) and the air conditioning fails on the hottest day of August, think happy thoughts and save the pity party until you’re out of the public eye!

For tips from the veterans, click to the following articles: “How to Have a Successful Book Signing” by MaryJanice Davidson; “Selling Your Books at a Booth” by Belea T. Keeney; and “40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event!” by Larry James.

Katherine Swarts is a professional writer specializing in corporate blogs/newsletters and other articles. Her Web address is

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