Monday, September 18, 2017

Preparing for Your Book Signing

You have written your book, had it accepted, and you have it in your hands. Now the publisher and the marketing team is ready for your participation in public displays and book signings. You may even have been asked to read your book or a passage or two in front of an audience. Does the thought of speaking in public or actually promoting yourself make your blood run cold? Here are a few tips to help prepare for your first book signing event.

I have had three books published and the first two signings were at church related events because the books fit that audience. However, I have a Picture book out this month and the first signing is coming up. How to prepare isn't something the publisher has explained other than to bring books, prepare to read aloud in front of a camera, and that a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Children's hospital. Not much to go on. This is what I have done.

  • I have plenty of business cards ready with my contact information. This way even those who don't purchase a book will take away a tangible way to reach me.
  • I have books ready to sell. The publisher also has back up cases. We may have too many but I like to be prepared. I also have made a simple order blank to pass out with my business card for those who were not prepared to buy today. Many may want to order for a gift, for their school, or at a later date.
  • This particular signing, the publisher is handling all purchases at one station so that all books sold that day from the authors present will get their donation deducted before receiving their commissions. If I were to be there alone, I would need to have a cash box and a way to accept payments and make change. A sign telling buyers who to make the check out to is also helpful and you have covered all bases. Know your tax rate and the laws pertaining to book sales. If tax is included in the price make that known to the buyer.
  • Have a table with a nice cloth or an attractive way to set up your books to grab the buyer. Just like the first paragraph grabs the reader, your initial appearance and impression grabs the buyer. This doesn't have to be elaborate but simple, clean, and attractive.
  • Dress neatly and appropriate for your setting. Wear your best asset which should be your smile and friendly manner at all times. Again, your first impression is your best. You may not have a chance to change the mind of a visitor who gets the wrong first impression and believe me that bad impression will be remembered when you publish again.
  • Have fun. Enjoy the process. Stay in the moment and put your outside concerns away for the day. This is what you  have worked for so truly enjoy the experience. Take mental notes if not written notes of contacts you may need in the future. With luck and hard work you will be in this place again.
These are just a few things that I am concentrating on, but marketing, blogging, and advertising before an event is also a must. What do you do to prepare for a book signing? How do you market yourself and your work that enhances what a marketing team may also be doing?

Feel free to comment and offer your tips to our readers. And check our archives for more articles on marketing  or grab a copy of The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson for more excellent advice on self promotion.

Terri Forehand is a Neonatal Nurse and author of The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane and Pepper's Special Secret. Visit her website at or her blog at


Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, great tips on how to prepare for a book signing. I wouldn't have thought about some of them, like know your tax rate! And, if needed, have change on hand. Thanks for sharing.

Randi said...

My book signing was today and it was a nice success. I would suggest having bookmarks, magnets and/or cookies. People were so surprised to find out that the gifts were free!

Karen Cioffi said...

Randi, more good tips! Bookmarks definitely and magnets are a great idea. I wouldn't have thought about cookies. But, who doesn't love cookies!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

Karen Cioffi said...

Oh, Congratulations on a successful book signing!

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