In writing, book signings are an integral part of the publishing process. As a librarian, I have seen this from both sides – the host, and the guest. Most writers won’t experience being both at the same time, but a few weeks ago I shared with my writing group – the day of my first signing, no less – some tips on a successful library book signing event from both sides.
The Librarian Side . . . Shhhhh . . . .
- The librarian may or may not look upon your book signing as a library program or event. If they do, they may offer snacks, Friends of the Library or library personnel to help with the event, etc.
- The library may do their own publicity in their community (flyers in-house, website, local newspaper, radio, etc.). Always ask what publicity they will do and you can fill in the blanks.
- The librarian can tell you when their peak traffic times are, when other authors have held signings, etc.
- The librarian can answer questions about where in the library to hold your event, and maybe even someplaces in their community where extra advertisement could be placed such as a book store, community center, church, etc.
The Author Side
- Get to know the libraries (and library directors!) in your area.
- Be prepared to schedule with a library months in advance. Library meeting rooms book quickly and have regular groups to schedule around.
- Email a thank you and the following information to the librarian as soon as you get your event scheduled: Images – headshot and book cover; blurb about your book; short biography; purchase links; contact links (social media, etc.).
- Be AT LEAST 10-15 minutes early for your event. I prefer 30 minutes. You don’t know if the room will be set up, and you do NOT want to be pulling your books out of the box while readers are coming in! There are always early birds, and it’s just good PR to accommodate them.
- Bring extra PENS!!
- Be prepared to bring decorations, move tables and chairs around, etc.
- Have a partner with you to assist with the money and write names on a slip of paper (especially if a reader is buying multiple books). If you do not have anyone to come
with you, ask the librarian if there would be someone who could assist you. The librarian will be glad to help.
- Bring a notebook and pen for people to sign up for a newsletter for future releases. This is golden.
- Be prepared to have a little “swag” on hand such as posters, bookmarks, candy – and make them affordable.
- If the book signing is in your current city or county, or where you grew up, tout yourself as a “local author.” That brings more attention, and will make more people check it out.
- Use Facebook to your advantage. Advertise, create an author page, and keep yourself out there. If you use Facebook socially, you most-likely have a built-in following of friends and family that will be more than happy to spread the word to THEIR friends and family.
- In advertisements for your event, encourage people to bring already-purchased books to be signed. People = Readers. When others see lots of people, they want to get in on whatever is happening. Readers = buyers.
Now I need to get myself ready for tomorrow’s book signing!
Enjoy your events!