Book Signing is Fun (and a lot of hard work)!
So…what’s it like to do a book signing? In a single word—fun! Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like…going to the movies fun. It’s more like going to a picnic with all your friends fun.
At the movies, you just show up. They have all the entertainment lined up. They have the seating, the popcorn, the soft drinks—everything. At a picnic, YOU create the fun. You bring the tablecloth, the picnic basket, the wine, the food. You think of the games and entertainment. Heck…you ARE the entertainment—you bring the balls, or the horseshoes, and the Frisbees. You set it all up and then have fun with your friends. It’s a lot of work.
Book signings are like that. They are a lot of work—before you ever sign one book! Yeah, your host will probably have the desk and the chair (but I’d always ask—just to be sure). They may even order the books ahead of time. But again, you need to touch base to make sure this is true and talk about just how many fans you expect might show up. You wouldn’t want to be caught with too few books—or too many.
To make your book signing organized, think ahead about what you may need. If the book store is going to collect the money, you may not need to worry about the moola; however, many book signings today are held in libraries, specialty stores, restaurants, clubs, book fairs, etc. If a signing is held in such a venue, you will need a box or zippered bag to hold the bills, and you will need change…lots of it. Oh, and BTW, I like to bring my gorgeous niece along to collect the cash, so that I’ll have more time to talk to my readers.
You’ll need several pens—and try them out before you begin your signing. Many authors like to use colors other than black to make their messages and signatures stand out. Personally, I prefer black. It’s just hard to mistake a signature from type.
If your book is available digitally, try ordering some rack cards to sign for e-book customers. It’s a way for them to participate in the signing, as well. For myself, I no longer buy print books if digital books are available. I’m a bibliophile, but I love reading at night from my Kindle that much! I also bring stands for my rack cards, my business cards and one for a book (to display). Your table will look better if everything isn’t resting “dead” flat on the table.
I also purchase “Local Author” stickers and “Autographed Copy” stickers. To me, they are dimensional decorations for the covers and make them pop to the customer—especially if you are leaving stock in the store for sale. It’s totally unnecessary, but I also like to have a very small, short vase with a few live flowers in it—just because that’s how I roll.
I also have a really nice sign that I display on an easel that says, “Book Signing Today!” You can put it outside the shop to draw customers. My sign has my name and a tag that says, “Authentic Southern Fiction” to let customers know what I write so they’ll know whether or not the book might be their cup of tea.
Finally, when you sign, try to keep your message as personal as possible. It’s very interesting to talk to fans, so chat them up if there’s time and try to use something you discussed in your conversation in your message to them—personalize it. Even if there’s not time to get to know your fan, you can say something like, “It was great meeting a fellow reader at “Random Shop Here,” and I wish you many smiles as you turn the pages of “Your Book Here.”
Book signings are fun in general—all the excitement and anticipation—and sometimes even the wine and cheese. But the most special part of the signing will be meeting your readers. They are extraordinary people who are committing their money and time to you. Though book signings are fun, they should also fill authors’ hearts with gratitude. Mine is bursting.