Sunday, May 12, 2013

10 Steps to Prepare for a Book Signing/Event

Trish Mason signs The Seaside House.

Once your book is in print, one great way to get the word out and connect with your readers is to hold a book signing. These can be very enjoyable experiences, but there can be some stress involved. Here are ten steps to keep your sanity as you plan one.

  1. Dress the part. This may be your readers’ first look at you aside from the jacket photo, so put some care into your appearance. Clothes should be professional but comfortable. You’re going to be talking to a lot of people whether sitting or standing, so dress appropriately.
  2. Know where you’re going. Once you’ve made all the travel arrangements, check them again. Get directions that you understand and know where to park, if necessary. If you’re not self-published, confirm all travel arrangements with your publisher in advance—air, hotel, car rentals, etc.
  3. Bring the “write” implement. Since you’re going to be signing a lot of books, make sure you bring your favorite pen. It needs to be comfortable in your hand and ink needs to flow smoothly. That being said, bring a back up!
  4. Know the spot. Call the bookstore in advance to coordinate logistics. Make sure they have enough books for the anticipated crowds. If it’s nearby, visit in person to scope the lay of the land.
  5. Design your signature. Just as your book as a voice, so should your signature have a personality of its own. No need to be overly decorative, but make sure it’s consistent.
  6. Arrive early. You’ll be able to make sure your table is set up correctly. You won’t have to wade through readers to get to your seat.
  7. Bring extra books. The bookstore may run out of your book and you don’t want to send away disappointed readers. If you’re able to, bring a box or two to keep stored under the table for all eventualities.
  8. Get the word out. Write a news release to send to local media outlets. Check out this blog post for more details on this. Talk the event up in all your circles—social, business, the random person on the street, etc.
  9. Capture your audience. Have an opt-in sheet for people to join your mailing list. This gives you an easy way to inform them of new releases and other upcoming events.
  10. Get help. No one ever said you had to do it alone. Ask a trusted friend to be your companion, help make travel arrangements or just bring you water. They can also be in charge of all book sales, so you can focus on greeting your readers.

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