Weeks of effort have paid off and this month I have a heavy schedule of book signings and other author events. While I was at one of them this past Saturday, it occurred to me that I might as well offer ten tips based on what I have learned.
10. Arrive early and offer to help setup for the event. This gives you a chance to meet the staff and establish a connection with them. In turn, this allows them to discover that you are friendly and helpful.
9. Bring donuts for the staff. I guarantee that if you bring a tasty gift for the people who work the book store that they will remember you and want you back. A book signing shouldn’t be a one-time event. It should be the first in a series of visits during your writing career.
8. Bring an assistant. Having a friend or family member along will put you more at ease and that in turn translates into a friendlier author meeting. A friend can also help talk with customers when the table gets a bit crowded so make sure it is someone familiar with your book.
7. Stand. The biggest reason for this is that your conversations with customers will have more positive energy if you are standing. Not to mention that just sitting there can often look as if the author just doesn’t care.
6. Greet everyone. You will get fewer people to stop and talk to you if you say nothing.
5. Have a poster, with your picture, that tells everyone you are an author signing books. Even if you are at a bookstore a surprising number of people will not realize that you are the actual author of the stack of books you are standing behind. And some people will pick up the book just because you are the author and will sign it for them.
4. Have something to hand the customers to remind them of your book. Bookmarks and postcards that have the cover image from your book both work well. It keeps your book on their mind as they walk around the store and even if they don’t pick the book up at that time it will remind them that the book is available when they see the items again.
3. Ask customers about themselves. Show an interest in them and get them talking about themselves and you have greatly increased the chances that they will pickup a copy of your book. Asking about what they like to read or what the last book that they read are both good questions that can be connected back to your novel.
2. Offer to sign any books that are left over. If you haven’t sold out, this creates an incentive for customers to pickup your book over the unsigned books that surround it. In many cases the store will be more willing to place the books in a high visibility location because of the autographs.
1. Have fun. If you’re having fun then so will the people who stop and talk to you.