Thursday, October 6, 2011

Indie Publishing Secrets #21 At Your Book Signings

Wonder what to do at your book signings?

Here's a list of 25 things to bring or do.

First off...

I've discovered there are different types of signings.

The first is one at a place where people come just for you.  An example of this would be my book launch at Barnes and Noble.  People came just to see me. I wasn't "selling" my book. I'd already done that.

The other is where you don't know anyone and are trolling for an audience. Costco is an example of this or perhaps a store away from your stomping grounds. Here, you have to "sell" your book.

For the first type of launch or book signing, you would advertise in your neighborhood, schools, and libraries as well as on all your social networking sites and all your friends and family would come and hopefully they would bring their friends.

 For the second, you only have your social networking sites and really, you are at the mercy of the traffic at the site you are signing at.

Two very different scenarios.

I'm going to tell you about the second type today.

1. Bring something to give to people as they pass to get interest.

You can print bookmarks, posters, cards, anything you can think of at Uprinting or other sites. Watch the cost. I chose double-sided cards because they only cost me about 1 cent each. Bookmarks will cost you about 7. (Thanks Heather!) One of my friends, Tristi, prints a recipe and information on half-sheets of paper on her laser printer for only 1/2 cent each.

2. Have cool posters made.
a.Costco is by far the cheapest option here if you are handy with Photoshop or another picture manipulation program. It will cost you about 5 bucks. You'll need a foam board and some spray on fixative. Total, it will cost around $11 bucks.
b. If not, go to or some other commercial site that creates posters and with their help, you can create something amazing. This will be around $25 once you add the foam board and fixative. Really, you need at least two posters. One for the entrance to the store and one to set next to your table where you are signing.
c. If you have extra money to spend, go ahead and have a print shop create an amazing, huge roll up poster for about $150.00 (it comes with a stand and all).
Pick your poison-but you need this.

3.You will need at least one book stand to prop your book up.

4.You will need a few field easels (if you don't do the big print shop hanging poster) to put your posters on. You do not want them on your table.

6.You need a fun, bright table cloth

7.You need a cute holder of some sort for your cards, bookmarks or posters or whatever.

8. Get dolled up. Look nice. You probably won't believe this, especially if you know me, but a mom came by my table and told me I must be doing something right because her 3-4 year old daughter asked her if I was Barbie. Yeah, wrap your head around that one.

9. Bring a permanent, real smile. Feel it from within. Enjoy meeting people and making friends. Don't let your whole goal be to sell to each person. Make connections. They will be back.

10.Bring a few awesome pens. I like pilot pens.

11.Wear comfortable shoes. I bring two pair. One cute and fashionable and one practical and comfy. I stand almost the whole time.

12. Bring water bottles. I bring 3 and I drink them all and refill them and drink them again.

13. Bring gum, but watch it. Don't chew openly. It's nice to have something to keep your mouth from getting dry.

14. Smoothies are an awesome option for food while signing. You won't get stuff in your teeth and you'll get a fun pick me up.

15. Bring a small mirror to check your looks, especially if you are sniffling from a cold or the cold.

16. Bring a jacket/sweater. Some stores are downright cold.

17. My cute friend, Tristi, likes to have a stuffed animal on the table to interest the kids. I've heard of people giving out suckers.

18. Bring a notebook. You need a spot to jot down ideas as you go.

19.  My other cute friend, Nichole Giles, gave me the tip to bring a pad of small post-it notes for people to spell their name for you. It's easy to mess up when you are talking to people at the same time you are signing.

20. Bring a calendar to jot down your sales and so that you can tell people when you'll be there again....or other places you will be.

21. Bring a sign-up sheet for a newsletter you send out at most 4 times a year.

22. Get psyched out. Get out there and make new friends. Be genuine and honest.

23. Be friendly with the staff. Talk to them and get to know them.

24. Come prepared with a one-liner to say to people as you hand them the card/bookmark, etc. I say one of two things.
a. Award-winning romantic suspense novel
b. The latest romantic suspense novel

25. Come prepared with a longer spiel to give about your book. People will say, "So, what's your book about." or "Tell me about your book." Have something ready. Short and sweet. Here's mine,  This is a story of a group of teens that go on a school trip to Washington, D.C. and witness a murder and how it changes their lives. More often than not, the next question is, "Is it clean?" I say, "Yep. No swearing and no sex." Be ready for that if you write Y.A.  You'll also be asked about how you got your idea,how long it took you to write, how you got published and if you've been successful.
(BTW, your answer to that one is
always yes.)

There's the list. I hope this helps you. The most important thing is your attitude. Be happy and others will be attracted to you.

Happy signing!


Maria Hoagland said...

Great ideas and some things I hadn't thought of. I love this series on your's my indie publishing bible :)

Boice Box said...

Great list!
I also like to bring a little gift for each of the book store staff.

I get companies to sponsor my book signings so that I can give away freebies! I love freebies! When I wrote "Easy Enrichment Ideas: Thinking Outside the Green Gelatin Box", I got Royal Gelatin to donate over 1000 boxes of green Jello for me to pass out to people in the store. It was a fun gimmick and people stood in line just for the free gelatin. ha ha

RaShelle Workman said...

Wonderful, Cindy! In a way I'm kind of glad I'm moving to Boston. Don't think the "Is it clean?" question will be as much of an issue. Is that terrible? No. LOL. My book is clean - no sex. Do they swear. Some. *giggles*

Canda said...

This is a great list. I really, really hope I need it someday.

Karen Hoover said...

Great suggestions!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Holy cow, Cindy. What a great list.

"Pick your poison-but you need this." I love this!

Where do you put the giant poster?

For smoothies, don't do ones with berries, or you will get stuff stuck in your teeth. ;)


kbrebes said...

Thanks, Cindy. You're the guru master!

Valerie Ipson said...

Love the list. Hope I need it, too, someday.