Over the weekend, 10/20/2018, I had my first official book signing for my books, “The Diary of She” and “The Diary of She – Vol.II” I only had little less than a month to plan and let me tell you, I wanted to call the whole thing off. From finding the perfect kid-friendly venue to making sure I got all my materials on time, I was already stressed/exhausted. BUT through all the wanting to quit I can say I was happy with the final outcome of it all. Not only did my guest have a wonderful time but as busy as I was I did as well.
For those that are looking to have their own book signing I want to give you a little advice.
Before you can have a book signing you must decide first if you really want to do it. After my experience I would say try to do one as soon as you can. It took me two books, almost a year after the first, to finally make the decision that I wanted to do one. It’s a good way to engage with your audience and build a new one. A lot of the people who came to mine had no clue I was into writing let alone had written two books already.
2. PICK A VENUE
You can do what I did and rent out a space, which wasn’t easy, especially with the short notice (a month) a lot of venues were already booked. Give yourself some time that way you have more options. The venue doesn’t have to be a space you found on your own. Get in contact with some local libraries, they are usually open to having authors come to their stores and have a signing event.
You cannot have a successful book signing without your professional materials. Order those books right away. There is no telling how long production may take on your books and what’s a signing without any books to sign? Get you some posters made of your book cover and make sure you have the easels for them to sit on. It’s also a good idea to order some bookmarks and business cards to give out with your books. I ordered my cards and bookmarks from VistaPrint at a very reasonable price. I would also add that a postcard with your book cover, synopsis and where to purchase the book is a good idea as well. I didn’t have any at my signing but It was brought to my attention that I should definitely invest next time when I was asked if I had any people could pass out to friends and coworkers.
Another thing is deciding if you want to have appetizer/treats for your quest. If this is something you are planning to do you’ll want to have an idea of how many people are attending and order right away.
So you’ve set a date, picked the place and ordered everything you’ll need for the day but what about the guest? The venue isn’t going to bring the crowd in, it’s your job as an author to let people know when and where you’re book signing is happening. What I did was create an event on Facebook to put a save the date out there. Then I found someone to make me a flyer, which I posted faithfully on all my social media accounts as well as sent to family and friends to share. To take it a step further I also created an event on Eventbrite for people to RSVP for free. I wanted to have an idea of how many people would possibly show up. You can see an example of the flyer I had made below.
5. DON’T OVER THINK IT
If you’re anything like me, you become anxious, extremely nervous and start to over think everything. First, I couldn’t decide If I wanted to do a reading (I ended up recording poems last-minute and probably only 1 out of 12 was actually heard. You can find those poems here ) Then I tried to put a limit on how long I would be signing books. I don’t know what I was thinking but it’s called a book signing for a reason and that’s what I was pretty much doing the entire night so make sure you have a bottle of water next to you and even a small snack. I didn’t really get to get up to mingle with guest besides those that were buying books, getting them signed and requesting pictures, which isn’t a bad thing because that means a lot of people were in attendance, which brings me to my last point. Do not spend time worrying about who is going to show up or not. That’s where most of my stress came from. Those that support you will show up even if it’s for a short amount of time. You will even see faces you aren’t familiar with but that’s a good thing, it means the promotion was working.
At the end of it all I wish I would have put myself out there sooner. Now that I’ve gotten through my first event I’m looking forward to doing more book signings at smaller locations like a library or even being a vendor at an event where I can sell books. No matter how big or small you’re event is remember the key to success is faith and having a lot of confidence. People will come out to support you and it may not be those that are close to you but know that you’ve reached a new person who in return might spread the word about a new author they met and book they read.
Have you had a book signing? What advice would you give to new authors?