Book Signings and Readings
Essential to your book promotion efforts are book signings and readings, whether at books stores, libraries, churches or book fairs. Here is a list of things to think about in your planning
Approach Bookstores and Other Venues at Least Several Months in Advance
Bookstores, libraries and churches generally set their event calendars a few months in advance. Many venues book even earlier to ensure to be able to list the event on their calendar, etc.
Pitch the Event Manager or Event or Festival Programmer
Anyone planning on hosting your appearance will need to know what book is about, why they should have you, and what you plan to do. FYI, unknown novelists aren’t generally considered for signings unless they can demonstrate their ability to bring in a crowd.
However, if you’ve written a book to promote your business, you may very well be welcomed if your author appearance/book signing includes a program that might be useful to the bookstores' customers and drive sales of other books. For example, a tax accountant’s book on IRS tips would likely be welcome in bookstores in March, before the April deadline for filing taxes.
Help Spread the Word About Your Author Appearance
A bookseller is likely to have your event listed on the store’s monthly (or weekly) calendar. But as everyone (the store, the publisher, you the author) benefits from a successful book signing, it behooves you to help spread the word by letting your own networks know about the appearance. Put the signing on your author website, promote it on your Facebook page, Tweet it to your followers. Even if the signing is in an unfamiliar place, friends of friends might help spread the word. Also get the event listed in local calendars, pin-up notices in the other retail establishments or bars you frequent or even in the library. Ask permission, of course (and note that it’s bad form to put the notice up in a competing bookstore—and you don’t want to piss off any bookstores).
Several Weeks Prior to Your Appearance, Make Sure You Have Books on the Shelf at the Venue
If you are getting set-up to speak at a church, make sure you get a couple copies into their church library, the same for the local library and bookstore. For the bookstore, either donate a couple copies to get them started, and/or put them in contact with Nsmpress for whole-sale pricing.
Best would be for you to have a case (24) of your books on hand (at your author's discounted price),
Make Sure Your Books Are Arriving on Time for Distribution and the Author Appearance
Don’t laugh. Many an author has been disappointed by a carton of books gone missing. Check and double check that your books are arriving. Stay close in touch with the publishing and bookselling staff members who are responsible (this is usually the publicist and the bookstore manager or bookstore’s event coordinator).
If You're Doing an Author Reading, Choose Your Passages Ahead of Time
Mark the passages well, and maybe select a range of possibilities depending on who shows up to your reading. That way, you're more likely to make sure your book appeal to whoever is in the audience.
BYOP (Bring Your Own Pens )
Publicists generally bring some, too, but don't rely on others for this. Keep your own with you, just in case. Sharpies are the standard for many authors. Thick or thin — your preference. But have plenty on hand.
Be a Pro and Go With the Flow
The number of moving parts required for book signings means there's usually a bobble or two. Every venue does book signings differently; some bookstore and event staffs are more professional than others, things don’t always happen as you would expect or would ideally like. Be polite, be helpful, keep your cool. Give constructive feedback later - not in front of the audience or readers.
Bring Your Book's Promotional Materials
If you’re signing at a large event when many authors are signing as well, it’s great to have bookmarks or other promotional items with you at your table to bring some of the reading public to you. Nsmpress can help you develop these, if requested.
Thank Everyone Involved in the Author Appearance
Make sure to write a note to your event “host.” It takes a lot of effort to mount these sorts of events and your thanks will be much appreciated. Plus, it will help you get fondly remembered when your next book is published.
-Adapted from Balance Careers
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