Sunday, August 5, 2012

7 Tips for a Successful Signing

Thanks to all of you, my dear friends and readers, I have labeled my first book signing a success.  Sure, I was nervous; so much so I couldn't eat breakfast or lunch and didn't have a real meal 'til 3:00 PM. And, yes, at times The CP and I found ourselves chatting with only each other, but that was cool, because we talked books and manuscripts while eating cookies and chocolate. She stayed with me the entire time, a truth for which I am most grateful if only so I wouldn't have to sit alone at a table stocked-full of books and bookmarks and Hershey's kisses, looking like a lonely, starving artist. (Please, please come talk to me! I promise I won't bite!)

So, that aside, it's time to get back into the flow. Start writing full-force again (I have an entire chapter to write by this evening, and I'm only maybe 1k words in...meep!). But I did want to share a few things with you I learned yesterday. A sort of checklist (yay, lists!) to help at your next book signing or first book signing or whenever you decide to sit behind a table and silently beg people with your eyes and a smile to come at least say, "Hi! So, what's your book about??"

1. Recruit someone to help you.  Someone who doesn't mind sitting for a few hours, taking money, etc.  The CP did a perfect job of this for me, and I can't wait to return the favor at her first signing.

2. Have extra pens, bookmarks, and notecards. Oh, and don't forget your favorite pen! With refills, if necessary.

3. Put out a guest book or a sign-up sheet tacked to a clipboard, so guests can write down their names and email addresses.

4. Bring plenty of books and a spool (or sheet) of "Autographed Copy" or "Signed by the Author" stickers. People love that their copies are personalized and autographed. You can find stickers on or or make your own at

5. Offer chocolate. Believe it or not, treats make people remember you.

6. Wear something comfortable, yet professional; something that reflects your personality and writing style.

7. Afterwards, send thank you's to those who helped you, especially but not limited to the person or place of business who hosted the event.

That's all I've got for now. If you're an author, how do you get through your signings? What tricks and/or tips have you learned along the way?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,



KarenG said...

Excellent tips! I like the one about bringing a friend. A signing can be lonely, because unless you're a celebrity people really aren't into stopping by the author signing table, sad but true. I think it's important to invite everyone you know, send out invitations like a party, and make it a party with treats for those who come. Passersby will be more likely to take note if there's a crowd.

Alyssia Kirkhart said...

That is a great idea, Karen, sending out invitations. Now it's over, I'm discovering all sorts of things I could've done to get more people to the table. You are right, however. Unless you're J.K. Rowling, people will not be lining outside the door.

Hey, but maybe someday, right?! :)

Winnie Griggs said...

Sorry I wasn’t able to attend your signing Saturday, but hopefully I’ll be able to make to a future one.
Those are all fabulous tips. There’s only a few other things that come to mind:

If you’re having bookmarks, postcards, etc made up for the event, rather than the info on the book you’re currently signing, if you have the information on a work you’ll be releasing in the future, that’s what should be on your bookmarks, etc.

Be prepared for the question “what’s your book about?” Some writers (raising my hand) get a bit tongue tied when faced with that question, especially if we’re already deep into another writing project. So jot down your short ‘elevator pitch’ and glance at it from time to time.

If space allows put up some signage near your table that can be read from a distance that tells folks what’s going on. Something along the lines of MEET THE AUTHOR or AUTHOR BOOKSIGNING

Drawings are a good way to attract passersby to your table - but if you decide to do this, keep the following in mind:
DON’T giveaway your current book (you want them to buy it). Rather find other items - if they have a tie in to your story so much the better. These don’t need to be expensive, just eye-catching
Set them up as “Must be present to win” as this will save you the headache of tracking down the winner and will give you the splash-over benefit of the excitement generated by the happy winner.
To make it feasible for entrants to stick around for the drawing, have no more than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Andrew Leon said...

Glad you had a success!
My first signing, the people hosting it didn't even show up to unlock. Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

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