Today I am thrilled to welcome Mike Hartner to the blog for a fabulous post on how to run a successful book signing. As an indie author it is important to learn how you can run your own book signings. Luckily Mike is a pro at it! Without any further ado here is Mike.
Book signings are unique to individuals. And it depends on who your publisher is, where the event is, what you’re scheduled to do, and how long you are given. But, here is my set of suggestions for a successful book signing.
- Find out about the parameters. If you’re doing this on your own, go to the local bookstore. Ask about dates. Ask what you can and can’t do. Ask if you can read passages, or not. Most of the time they’ll allow you to set up a signing table in a high-volume area. Get a good look at the where.
- Publicity, Publicity, Publicity. Even if it’s just email among friends and relatives who live close-by. I print invitations on card stock. 4 to a standard page and then cut them. Put the date, and the event. (i.e. You Are Invited: Location, Date, Time. Beside a copy of the cover)
- Email everyone. First, when you initially find out. Then about two weeks before the event and finally the night before or day of the event.
- Prepare signage: I print 11×17 and 8.5×11 pictures of the cover. The 11×17 include the date and time of the presentation. The 8.5×11 are laminated.
- Also a sign if your writing has awards. For example, mine has an Amazon #1 ranking…so I put that on the banner as well as a First Place finish in a writing award so I put that.
- Work with the book store. I have run across several book stores that will have raffles. where those who come in for the signing put their name in a bowl and can be selected for a prize. The drawing is usually on an hourly basis, or something similar. Before you get started on the signing, ask if they are having a raffle, and be prepared to volunteer a few prizes. I usually give gift cards from the bookstore, or even Starbucks cards. Gift cards for the bookstore allows the winner a chance to get the book for free, if he’s going to buy it.
- Take a few things with you when you go: Signage (8.5 x 11), book stands (very helpful if you have them), jar for business cards for draws (if you are doing them), chocolate and a serving dish. The chocolate doesn’t have to be fancy. I use chocolate covered nuts that I pick up at COSTCO. Cheap. But the dish you use to serve can entice people to come over to your table. Which makes it much easier to start conversations about the book.
- Recognize that NOT everyone in that store is going to buy your book. Not even everyone who will speak to you. Book signings are publicity. They introduce you to the reading audience. And they let you introduce your characters to the audience. And they will ask you questions.
- Whether informal or formal you will get questions. Things like, “What inspired you?”, “Why this [pick a genre]?”, “Is this your first book?”…Find an answer and stick to it. Don’t rehearse them, just let them fall naturally.
- RELAX. Book signings are meant to be fun. They introduce you and your book to the public, give you recognition, and allow the public to get to know you. And getting to know the author is a sure-fire way to get better sales, both online and in store.
In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?
Especially given his family background?
About the Author:
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.
Amy Sherman says
@MHartnerAuthor Lord I hope I get to use these tips in the not-too-distant future.
Kate Tilton (Froze8) says
I’m sure you will Amy! 🙂
Roger H Panton says
Thank you. I have set it aside for repeat reading.
Kate Tilton says
Glad to hear that Roger! Mike certainly knows a thing or two about book signings. 🙂
Patti Albaugh says
These are great ideas! I especially like the one about sponsoring some door prizes at the bookstore. For the launch of The Ups and Downs of Miss Margaret Landings, I also had some posters made of the cover that I sent to the bookstore ahead of time. For the launch in a different location, I served the protagonist’s favorite libation-gin and tonics, and among other types of food, I had a cake with the cover printed on it (bakeries do marvelous things these days.) Some actor friends re-created some scenes. That was a big hit!
Thanks for posting on this topic.
Kate Tilton says
Thank you Patti! Mike has some great ideas about book signings and I am so glad he shared them.
I think the door prize idea is a unique one for authors. Having posters up before hand to advertise at the store and serving food also work really nicely. I have been to some fun signings with food based off the books. Thank you for stopping by the blog! 🙂