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What would you say is the most important thing to know about book signings?

My previous discussion was probably worded and titled wrong. If you could give new authors one tip or bit of advice about book signings what would it be? I am nervous about my upcoming signing and would love to hear from authors who have been through them.

Kristin Callender
The Truth Lies in the Dark

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Kristin, I'm going to give you some advice that will answer many of your questions now and in the future. I hope you will accept it in the spirit of my good intentions and not be offended. I have noticed that some newer writers don't quite get it when it comes to being proactive. They haven't quite internalized that the more they can rely on themselves for finding solutions, the better their confidence and independence will become. I have also noticed an impatience for quick solutions without much effort involved, even when the tasks ahead require hard work to be done efficiently.

A former school principal, I believe in teaching a person to fish, and only giving them a fish as a last resort after they have tried to fish themselves. This way, instead of getting a single meal, they become empowered to feed themselves for life. While it is fine to ask others for help sometimes, huge amounts of information are available on the Internet within seconds of making a request. I just Googled "book signing" and found this article titled "How to Have A Successful Book Signing," along with many other similar articles, right away. Among other things, it includes promotion, attire, what to bring, and what to say.

You can also do a search on "book signing" at this Book Marketing Network website.

I'm suggesting that you get in the habit of using the Internet more to find answers to your questions. When that doesn't work, try other resources, including people. Remember, the articles on the Internet are often by people who are experts. Also, know that I wish you the best at your book signing and in all your future writing endeavors.

Frances Shani Parker
First I want to say thanks for your input, but I think you are assuming I am looking for something I am not here. I realize that computers are impersonal by nature so you have no way of knowing what a person's true intentions are or how much work they have or have not put into their work. I was looking for some personal signing stories from the people who have been there and could maybe give some pointers to someone who has not yet. I was not 'fishing for a meal', or even a quick snack. Just some real honest feedback. And as far as using the internet more...isn't that what this is? I was under the understanding that this forum was for authors and publishers to offer support and help to each other. Don't get me wrong I utilize as many resources as I can find in the cyber world, but sometimes it's nice to hear from real people.

Kristin, my assumptions apparently do not apply to you, and I apologize for even making them. The last thing I want to do is discourage you on your book publishing journey. I guess I have been approached too many times by people asking me for shortcuts that don't exist, including a total stranger asking me to read and correct a manuscript when I have time, as if I have no other life.

I do want to support and help you, so here's my take as a real person on book signings. They are unpredictable, even after they've been advertised well in the print media. Unfortunately, many people don't read the print media. The economy is not the best now either. The main thing is to do your homework and do your best for whoever shows up. Each time you do this, you'll get better at it. It keeps the information fresh in your mind, and this will be good practice for radio and TV interviews, which you will do later. Of course, book signings are just one form of marketing, and I know you'll be exploring many others. You've said "I utilize as many resources as I can find in the cyber world," and I believe you. If you feel like it, let me know how your book signing turns out. Good luck, Kristin!

Frances Shani Parker
Thanks again Frances. I understand what you're saying. I know that new authors tend to believe that their work is done after the book is published. I hope to have that much success one day where that will be the case. But in the mean time I am trying everything. I actually enjoy alot of it, the public speaking however is not a strength of mine and am always looking for new info and tips that might help me over come that. So no hard feelings, I was just making my point just as you were. I will definitely let you know how it goes.

Kristin, that feistiness will get you far in life. I admire the way you stood up for yourself.

I would say to put together a very short but brief pitch. Approach everyone, look them in their face, introduce yourself with book in hand, shake their hand, pass them the book. Remember they came to a book store to buy a book-so reel them in. Don't be pushy-with a good sales pitch there is no need to be. If no sale, then have promotional material such as a card or bookmark with website and book info to pass along to them. It may turn into a sale later on down the road.

Booksignings are technically for marketing purposes and to get people to know about your work. But I have sold thousands of books throughout my short career straight from my hands.

I have a section titled "The Pros and Cons of Booksignings" within my booklet "The Secrets Of Self Publishing" A Booklet to Guide You. It will show you how to set them up and make your journey a little easier.
Hi Therone,
Thanks for your advice. I have made postcards and sent some to announce the signing. I hope to have bookmarks by the date to give away. This is my first signing and it is very local, so I am nervous. I have another one planned in April that is not as close to home and I find I am not so nervous about it. I guess it helps that that the librarian there has been extremely helpful. She has taken copies of my book and will be displaying and selling them for me. Where is your booklet available? I am always welcoming new info to help me.
Thanks Again,
Kristin Callender

Sorry for the late response, but I'm not on here often and I have so many things going on. But The Secrets Of Self Publishing is available on and the company website I'm preparing a second edition which I will most likely put out Jan-Feb 2010. It will have info I've learned and utilized over the last year.
Get involved with your own media blitz. Too many authors overlook this entirely and then wonder why nobody shows at their booksigning. I have a list of newspaper, TV, radio and magazines in the area, the contact person (I call and find out exactly who the person is, plus check every 6 months to make sure they haven't moved on), how they choose to be contacted and the time frame. Some venues want it 3 weeks in advance. I also write an article about myself in case they have no reporter available to give me an interview. Plus, a short community news piece to run everywhere.

A decorated table and freebies help. I use a grape tray and give out small boxes of raisins stuck on my bookmarks. Try to tie it in with your book. People will approach if they think they are going to get a piece of candy or a free pencil.
Thanks Sunny. I am making bookmarks and will be bringing candy. I am also thinking about making some prints of the original painting that my cover was taken from, or bringing the painting itself as a conversation piece. My teenage son painted it. Any other tips you think of are appreciated.
Hi Kristin,

I wish you well on your journey. Personally I've done many signings but booksignings are not my favorite method of promotion. I do find group signings and festivals much more fun and beneficial than individual signings but if you do intend to embark on them then just do your best to be as creative as you can. Make sure you have pre-promotion for the signing done as much as possible and do not make the mistake that some of us do by believing our publishers or the stores are gonna promote. Your publisher will do only so much and other than the store making a sign to announce you, that's the extent of their support. It can be kind of depressing when you show up to do a signing and have done all on your end to find that the store isn't even prepared for you but, that how it goes sometimes. All I can say is put your all into fixing up the event and making it successful.

I have retired from individual signings (unless I feel it beneficial to me) and when my next book is released I plan to do virtual book tours and blog tours. I'm very excited about doing one of these and I've heard so mny great things about VBTs. These are fun plus authors can reach thousands of people in a short amount of time online then they ever could during a normal booksigning. I also find regular book signings very boring, but that's just me, LOL.

BIG TIP: It's a good thing to invite family and friends! I had some family at my signings and they did wonderful! You can have your personal cheerleaders. When I was signing books then my "entourage" would go out and round up people to the table. I admit that my least successful signings were when I did it completely alone. You need that support with you. A lot of authors bring their spouses, family, friends, etc. I would definitely do this. It also helps you not to be so nervous and you have someone to talk to while you're waiting on possible customers. Good luck and I hope you enjoy it!

Best Wishes!


Thanks for all of your advice Stacy-Deanne. I have been sending out post cards and thankfully the library has done a pretty good job of posting announcements. I got a really good deal on some
t shirts with my book cover and my kids and some other family members are going to wear them to the signing. VBTs sound interesting. How do they work? I will have to look into them and group signings. I have heard they are a lot of fun from other authors too. Your book slide show looks interesting. You should try to slow the pictures down a little though. I was trying to read the covers and they switch too fast.
Thanks again for all your advice. I will let you know how it goes. Let me know about the VBT.
Kristin Callender


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