You've learned how to plan a successful book event here now it's time to implement what you've learned. You've got your book signing date, and you're excited and ready to go. What's next? Well here's a handy checklist you can use to help you plan the perfect event:
- See if you can get a copy of the store's media list. More than likely the bookstore will send out press releases but it's important for you to do the same. Not only will you be able to target the same people twice, but the store manager will also know that you are actively involved in promoting your event.
- Send a confirmation of your signing to the bookstore. It will make you look professional and show the store manager that you are a professional and that you take your book signings very seriously.
- Start tapping into that media list you've been creating and begin contacting local media to promote your event.
- Submit your information to the Events or Author Appearances section of your local newspapers or events section of your city or town website. You should plan to do this two weeks prior to the event.
- Notify the media, generally two weeks prior is good. Though some may need smaller lead times it's never a bad idea to start early. If you're pitching radio offer to give away some copies of your book, they love doing on-air giveaways, and it will give you more radio time since they'll likely mention the giveaway several times during their broadcast. Generally all of your media contacts can be emailed, but for local TV especially I will often email them and then drop off a copy of the book to the station so they can see it - it's also a great follow up.
If you haven't already done so, get those bookmarks and postcards printed up. You can do this pretty cheaply through Vistaprint.com. Don't forget to add a few review blurbs if you have them. Get the cover of your book enlarged to poster size. Then, get it laminated and mounted. I had three of them printed up. I will usually drop one or two off at the store prior to the event so they can set them out and I'll bring the third one with me that day. Prop a sign up on an easel by the front door where you will be standing and greeting people.
- Get signs made that say: "Book Signing Today" or "Author Appearance;" both of these will help to draw crowds to your table.
Things To Bring To Your Book Signing
- Bookmarks - I try to hand these out like crazy. Sometimes I'll even hand them out with the flyer when people enter the store. I've even autographed one or two when people hesitate to buy a book. More often than not, they return at a later time to buy a copy just because I gave them a bookmark.
- Postcards - Bring postcards with your book cover on them. I always say you can never have too many marketing materials.
- Chocolate - I like to fill an attractive jar with Hershey's kisses or some other small chocolate. Food attracts people and may even keep them lingering a bit longer.
- Sign-up sheet - I always have people sign in at the event. If they give you their email address, ask if you can add them to your mailing list. This is a great way to build a "fan club" and continue spreading the word about your book as well as future novels. To encourage sign-ups, you could also do a raffle but make sure that folks don't have to be present to win. That can be a big turn off.
- Make up a small flyer to hand to people who enter the store. They may not even know about your signing but you'll be sure to tell them. Keep in mind that heavy promotion of your book signing does not just benefit you, it also benefits the store and sends a strong message that you know how to move your books.
- Your favorite pen.
During Your Signing
- Don't sit down unless you have to.
- Smile, talk, and most of all, have fun! This is no time to be shy.
- If no one shows up, remember, that's okay. It has happened to all of us at one time or another.
- Get people to enter your contest or sign your guest book.
- Tell the store manager that you'd like to sign the remaining books before you leave the store and see if they have "Autographed by Author" stickers for them. If they don't, you might want to think about ordering some from the American Booksellers Association (www.bookWeb.org). You can get these and a variety of other book stickers for5 a roll. These stickers will really help to move your book.
- Don't feel confined to stay just a few hours. Stay as long as there is an interest in the book. Once, I booked a signing for two hours; I ended up staying for five.
What To Do After Your Book Signing
- Send a thank-you note to the person in charge of coordinating your signing. Don't send an email. Send a handwritten note. It will go a lot further!
Book signings and events can be a great way to spread the word about your book, also if you're trying to get local media sometimes an event can be the best way to do that. Remember if you're pitching the media, they aren't going to care that you have an event. Tell them how this book will help their readers/viewers/listeners, that's what they will care about.