Book signings are important for authors who are established as well as those looking to break into the game. These events are like concerts because they bring people together to see you and hear to what you have to say. After the event, instead of running off to your tour bus, you do a meet-and-greet where you shake hands with your fans and get to know them. Your event should last 90 minutes to two hours: 30 to 45 minutes for the reading, 15 to 30 minutes for questions, and about an hour to sign all the books.
Of course, it would be wise to arrive early to talk to your host and make sure everything is in order. You don’t usually need to bring your own table and chair, but you should definitely bring your own pen. In fact, you should bring a few pens to avoid the embarrassing situation of needing one. You should also bring a sign – or, ideally, send it ahead in your press kit – so that the store can advertise your event.
When you talk to the host, find out how large an audience is expected, and ask if you can bring extra copies of your book. You can also bring sticky notes to help keep the signing line moving. An assistant would use the Post-It note to write down the words, names, and even page number where the buyer would like the book autographed. You would then copy from these instructions instead of having to ask the buyer yourself.
As an author, your role is twofold. You are supposed to sell books, obviously. That’s your main job. But you are also supposed to connect with your current and potential readers, to create a following of people who will continue to buy your works. So first and foremost, write great books. Then connect with your readers. This will help you market and sell books. Think of ways to raise awareness about your book events on websites, through networking, or announcing to friends and relatives. At the end of the day, you want to connect with readers so that they will buy your books and tell their friends and family members to do the same.
I've never been to a book signing event and am trying to build up my courage to have one. This really helped me think of the different moving parts of the process!
You can do it. And it is one of the most rewarding things you can do to celebrate your accomplishment.
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