A Guide Through Book-Signings: Tips from Author Christine Rees
Author Christine Rees visits Girl Meets Publishing World to share her book-signing tips.
Christine Rees is a Canadian teen fiction author. Christine graduated from both Western University and Sheridan College, and spends most of her time with her pets, traveling, writing books, or helping others pursue their writing passion with her blog.
Christine's debut paranormal novel, THE HIDDEN LEGACY, won the 2017 Raven Award for Favorite New & Young Adult and hit #1 on Amazon Canada's Best Seller List. The sequel is currently in-works. To learn more, visit www.christinerees.com
A GUIDE THROUGH BOOK-SIGNINGS
Why is this important? And how do you do it?
There are many reasons to organize a book-signing as an author, but some key aims are:
· To spread awareness of your book
· To include your work in book stores
· To engage with new readers
· To inspire young writers
· To share a fun experience
So, let’s get started!
Where do I begin?
Connect with the store location where you are interested in organizing the book-signing. You can call, email, or head over in-person to speak to the Consignment Manager (or someone in charge of book-signings and events). This person will guide you through which days and times work best for an author signing, so you can set a date and discuss pricing.
How many copies of my book do I need to bring?
Find out if this location purchases your books directly from a distributor or if you have to bring your own to sell. And if you’re bringing copies of your book to sell, inquire about keeping copies on consignment (contract) following the signing. Make sure you bring enough books to leave some behind! If the signing goes well, they may want to sell them in-store.
How will people know to come?
Tell the world about it! Marketing is essential. You can post about it on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) and on your website. You can also create marketing materials such as posters to display or cards to hand-out in-store leading up to the event. If you’re not a photoshop wizard (I’m not!), Canva.com is a fantastic source for easy-to-make marketing materials. Photoshop is not my strong suit, but I design and print posters for every one of my book-signings using Canva. This website separates social media posts from poster templates, so you can easily work on one medium at a time.
The Big Day
How do I set up?
Try out a color theme. I find that it ties the event together and catches the eye of anyone who walks into the store. My book cover for THE HIDDEN LEGACY is blue, so everything I bring (and wear) is blue. I typically bring blue balloons, a table cloth and decorative gems that work with the book’s cover.
How will people know to come talk to me?
Be friendly and start conversations. You don’t always need to be selling your book. Talk to book lovers about what they’re currently reading. What’s their favorite book? Genre? Or even the weather. You’d be surprised how casually the conversation can switch over to your book, which leaves potential customers feeling less like their being “sold” to. This can lead to a more positive experience.
Should I offer a promotion?
It's never a bad idea to offer something. People like free stuff! Include a small “gift with purchase” like a candle, pen, bookmark, or any bookish merch. It’s even better if you have something that relates to your story, but that’s not always easy. I like to keep a bowl of treats out during book-signings because who doesn’t enjoy free sweets? That alone draws people in.
How do I know if I’ve had a successful book-signing?
Success depends on your interpretation of it, but don’t get down because you didn’t sell as many copies as you were hoping to. Be appreciative of the experience. The point of a book-signing is to spread awareness of your work, cultivate a fun and engaging atmosphere, find new readers, and hopefully, build your fan base. Customers may not purchase your book because it doesn’t fit their preferred genre, but your next one might. Even if you sell 2-5 copies, you’re still reaching 2-5 more people. Who knows how many of those readers will share your book with friends and family? I’ve had readers approach me about so-and-so lending them THE HIDDEN LEGACY and now they can’t wait for the sequel to release. Even though they didn’t purchase the first book, they may very well buy the next one.
Don’t forget to thank the store’s employees for helping you. I offer a “thank you” card and a bookmark at the end of every event to show my appreciation. And every time I’ve been invited to return for another book-signing. It doesn’t hurt to be nice.
Stay positive and know that you can do this!