Yesterday was my first book signing event! I had been looking forward to the event for a long time. It was a huge dream of mine come true. I was at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City mainly promoting my novel, The Crashing of Heaven and Hell. Instead of doing a diary post about it, I thought it would be more helpful, and not to mention more interesting, if I wrote an advice article about what I learned.
A little background on the signing first. I was part of Full Circle Bookstore’s monthly event, New Ink. The events coordinator explained New Ink helped authors gain more exposure by combining forces, making the signing into a party. It was also a great networking opportunity to meet other authors and share advice. I learned there were pros and cons to the the group and solo signings from them.
+ Greater exposure
- Sharing Buyers
+ Focus is on you
- Requires more publicity work
- Can be boring/lonely
I honestly can’t flat out say group events are best for new authors and solo are for established. The best approach is to do both.
Unless your super famous, prepare for some down time. My girlfriend was with me, along with books and my iPhone, to keep me company. Good to have company to watch the table while you use the bathroom.
Have promotional materials at the table! This I figured before hand. People may be interested in the book, but they may not able to buy at the moment, prefer to read a sample first, or want a digital edition. I had postcard sized flies printed up and gave those out to people. I also gave away free bookmarks.
Other authors did other things.
Lara Henley, author of Jessie Discovers Christmas, gave out candy canes.
Steve Kime, author of Rollin on Route 66, had a photo album of his bike ride along Route 66.
Earl Crago and William Lady, authors of Prince Of The Prism, had an impressive easel with a poster.
I should also mention Debra Braudrick, author of And Evil Dwelt Among Us, had a wood caring on display a friend of hers made.
I know not everyone is into sci-fi/fantasy, so I also promoted my date idea book and murder mystery party game book too. Multi-sell!
I was part of a conversation awhile back with a friend, Cristela Carrizales, who is an actress, and she made a good point about friendship. I’m going to do my best not butcher what she said but basically she only expects companionship from her friends. It’s a solid expectation.
Don’t expect all of your friends to make an appearance, especially if most of your friends are the creative types. It’s impossible to go to everyone’s watch party/book signing/art opening/play/game/concert/etc. While they may not come, keep in mind, they are proud of you. They are your friends – not your fans.
The biggest advice: don’t get discouraged. It takes some hutzpa to do a book signing. I only sold one copy, which was to someone I knew. I don’t think any of the authors there sold more than a few copies, if any at all. (There was a big college home football game, OU vs. Iowa State, that didn’t help matters.) But you know what? I had good time. I got to meet some interesting people, learn a few things, and had fun celebrating afterwards.
If you want to see more photos of the event, I uploaded them to Facebook.
To everyone who came out and visited me or brought a copy at any point I want to say, thank you.