A book signing is a great way to connect with your readers and promote your latest book. While there are no hard-and-fast industry standards for these events, we at Self-Publishing Relief have put together a practical checklist to maximize the fan base appeal and marketing potential of your next self-published book signing event.
Use This Handy Checklist For A Successful Book Signing
Get the word out.
This may seem obvious, but promoting your book signing early and often is a must unless you want to risk being the only person who shows up. Start by announcing the event to your existing social media audience, and then work from there to connect with potential new fans: friends of friends, fans of similar authors, fans of your genre, etc. Invite the people on your e-mailing list. Submit a press release to local media. Send reminders so those interested in attending won’t forget!
There’s certainly nothing wrong with dressing professionally and conservatively for your book signing, but consider whether your book presents an opportunity for some creative marketing with clothing that expresses the spirit of your genre. For example, historical fiction writers might wear a costume of that period, or a romance novelist might hire a model to dress as one of the main characters. Use your imagination!
Set the table.
Your book signing is largely about promoting your new book, but you should also harness its power to support and build your author brand. If you plan to have promotional items, posters, and decorations, make sure they clearly communicate your voice and the genre and style of your writing. Keep artwork and images consistent on all of your giveaways and marketing pieces to reinforce your author brand.
Stand in front of the table.
If this is a multi-author book signing event, it’s important that you find ways to stand out in the crowd. Consider making yourself more approachable by coming out from behind the barrier of the table to more easily interact with potential readers. Even just standing up behind it (rather than sitting) will make it easier for you to make eye contact with attendees.
When someone approaches you to sign a book, you have a golden opportunity to make a lasting connection with your reader, so it’s very important to put on your game face. Remember, you are the representative of your author brand. Smile, make small talk, pay full attention to the person in front of you—make your fans feel valued.
Ask questions first.
Is the autographed copy for the person in front of you—or is it a gift for someone else? What is the person’s name and how do you spell it? Should you sign just your name or personalize it further? Some fans will treasure a personal note from you, but others may feel your book will be more valuable if it is not personalized. Find out before you put pen to paper.
It can be difficult to think of something to write to a stranger, so if you are going to add a personal note with your signature, have ideas ready ahead of time. You might want to gear your chitchat with fans to find out where they’re from, how they heard about the event, or what drew them to your book. You should also prepare some generic options such as “Thanks for coming to my book signing” or “It’s great to meet another [book genre] lover!”
Sign off with style.
Wrap up your message with a “signature” closing line or phrase. Use a classic such as “Sincerely” or “Best wishes,” or choose something more unusual if that better reflects your personality, writing style, or genre.
Offer to pose for selfies.
After you’ve signed your book, ask if your fan would like to take a quick selfie with you. It’s another great way to make a personal connection, and who knows? Maybe he or she will share the photo on social media—and tag you! A selfie is an easy way for your fans to spread the word about your writing.
Tuck in a business card or bookmark.
Create bookmarks and business cards featuring your book’s cover art and your author website address and put a couple inside each book once you sign it. Entice your readers to visit your website by promising a freebie for fans who sign up for your e-mail list (here’s a list of great ideas for cheap or free digital giveaways). Hand out extra bookmarks and ask your fans to share them with their friends.
A little savvy preparation for your book signing—along with smart interaction with the attendees—can help you avoid a lackluster event and turn it into a successful promotion of your book as well as a fun celebration for your fan base.