When I first realized I wanted to be an author, I found that I was easily overwhelmed by the extreme learning curve I had before me. And it wasn’t just stuff you had to learn, but also execute every day after that. To keep from getting ulcers (jury is still out on that) I told myself that if I could just learn one new thing a day, I would be okay and I wouldn’t get so stressed out that I wanted to quit.
Well, that kind of worked. Ha! But I thought I would share some of the things I learned along the way on this blog.
Sh!t I Learned Today: The Newbies Guide to Book Signings
I recently attended my very first book signing. I was a bit skeptical at first because I didn’t know if it would be worth the money spent and time traveling. It would take a lot of sold books to equal the costs of the trip. My skepticism was blown out of the water. It was awesome! Even meeting one fan made the whole thing worth it. Plus I sold a pretty good handful of books.
It was so much fun, but I was so nervous about doing everything right. I wanted my table to look good, and I didn’t want to “stand-out” in a bad way by looking like a total newbie or something. So here are some tips I picked up just from my first time out. I’m sure a more experienced author has better tips, but hey, this is shit I learned so…
1. Get a good banner. My banner was a little different, but it worked okay. But I would suggest going to Build A Sign and getting the retractable banner. It seems to be what everyone uses. Here is the exact link.
2. Tablecloths. I brought one with me in a neutral color that went with my table set up. I saw a lot of authors with monogrammed sashes to put over their tables, and that was super cool. A lot of people had colored tablecloths, and it helped add a fun flair to their table. I was worried people didn’t really do tablecloths, and that I would stick out. But they do. So go crazy with it.
3. Book stands. Now if you have a lot of books, you probably want to invest in an actual book display, which a lot of authors had. However, I only have three books out, so I got those free standing picture frame holders and they fit a book perfectly! And they looked cute.
Side note: I also got wicker baskets to put my extra books and candles in. I set them on the table for decorations. So I wasn’t rooting around under the table for books, and the baskets added dimension and style to my table.
4. SWAG!!! I should have put this first because this is super important. I would say you need at least three types of swag for people to pick up as they walk by. Bookmarks are great for this. I had three different bookmarks and I brought a ton of each. They are cheap to get at gotprint.net and they work well to give to people and you can sign them. So people who maybe have never heard of your books can pick up a bookmark and remember to check out your book later. I also had bookplates/stickers that I laid out to give away. Magnets can be cheap options as well. Oh! And post cards. Those are good.
5. You really only need to bring 10-15 books of each book you have published. If you have a series, bring more of the first book.
6. Decorations. I had some fake flowers to put on my table that looked really nice. It helped fill up my table and this is key. You want your table to look full and overflowing. It draws people in. Decorations can help fill space if you only have a few books out like me.
7. Candy! I put a ton of chocolate in a large vase. It was good for the kids being toted along. And it helped fill up my table.
8. Newsletter signup. I just sat out a notebook and some pens. People automatically just filled out their information on it. It’s a great way to get more emails on your list. However, it sucked having to add them all in by hand on Mailchimp. So maybe it would be good to take a tablet and have them sign up that way.
9. Giveaway! I did a giveaway at my table for people signing up for my newsletter. I told them they were entered to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card by signing up. When I got home, I drew a winner.
10. Smile and say hello to every single person that walks past. I think it drew a lot of people to my table who wouldn’t have otherwise stopped.
11. I bought these cool dry-erase maker boards at Walmart. They were smaller than a big poster, and you could wipe off the marker easily, so you could reuse them. They were GREAT for price signs and stuff.
So those are just some of my thoughts on what I learned worked well. These events are a great opportunity to express yourself and have fun. And I’m definitely excited to book more signings for next year.