(Originally published Apr. 16,2008).
Today, I was delighted to discover an article by Larry James entitled ‘35 Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event’. This caught my interest because I have several book signings scheduled at the end of May, and mostly, I find the experience excruciatingly painful. For those of you who feel the same way, I would like to share a couple of Mr. James’ recommendations that particularly resonated with me.
Recommendation: “Don’t just sit at the table they have for you. Most authors do that. Be different! I always tell the person booking the signing not to worry about putting a chair behind the table. This will always get their attention. Let them know you will be the store’s official greeter while you are there. Walk around the store with several copies of your book and introduce yourself to everyone.
If those you introduce yourself to show the least bit of interest, hand them a book. They will almost always take it. Tell them to look at it and bring it back to the table when they are finished. On average, I more than tripled my book sales at signings by implementing this tip!”
When I read this tip, I felt my stomach clench, a sure sign that I had found an approach I had to try. How many times, have I found myself cowering behind the desk, an insane smile plastered on my face, watching prospective customers avoid eye contact and scurry past? The few times I forced myself to stand in front of the desk and introduce myself to anyone that glanced in my direction, I increased my sales exponentially. Next book signing, I will graduate to a greeter.
Recommendation: “Write your own announcement for the book store’s intercom. Make it short and brief. Give them several versions, because they usually announce that you are there several times. Don’t hesitate to remind them to make the announcement again if it’s been awhile since the last announcement. They will often get busy and forget. Every half hour should do it. If you do lectures or give speeches about your book and are in town for a keynote or seminar that is open to the public, include information about that too. Let the book store choose to include it in the announcement or not.”
This tip would never have occurred to me in a million years. Most of the time, I barely notice the announcement, never mind pay attention to the words. Here is what I propose to give them next time:
Maureen Fisher has joined us this afternoon to conduct a book signing for her prizewinning paranormal romantic suspense, The Jaguar Legacy. Start with one archaeological dig — a lost city in Mexico — where occult energies triggers past life flashbacks; add one hunky archaeologist who hates the press; combine with a smart-mouthed reporter on a quest for an exposé; throw in a vengeful ex-wife and a mysterious shaman. Stir well until mixed and stand back from the fireworks.
Meet the author today: Maureen Fisher will sign copies of her prizewinning paranormal romantic suspense, The Jaguar Legacy — strong enough for a man … but WRITTEN for a woman.
It’ll be a stretch for me, but I will try some of Mr. James’ recommendations at my upcoming book signings. To view all thirty-five book signing tips, go to: www.writerswrite.com/journal/jan00/james.htm