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Is A Book Signing Worth An Author's Time?

Readers have had your book, which you spent countless hours writing, for several months. Encouraged by steady sales, you're considering hosting a book signing event. But you're not exactly sure what a book signing is or how to begin planning?

Most book signings usually occur at bookstores or libraries, where the author signs copies of their featured book(s). Authors contact them to schedule the event. And because both outlets are fond of authors, they should be open to hosting the event for most book genres. Maintaining professionalism in your phone approach and in person is important. Bringing a free book for the staff wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Authors then promote the event to reach as many readers as possible. To have a successful turnout, use exciting graphics on social media that display the date, time, and location. Start posting at least two weeks before the signing.

On the day of the book signing, set a large table along with comfortable chairs for you and a reader. Pop-up tents can be used for outdoor events like at parks or local food festivals. Both types of events feature books by the author, bookmarks, fun drawings or games, and small gifts. Outdoors usually have the addition of a banner or poster board displaying the author’s name and bio photo.

At times during the event, the author should read passages from their books and host a Q&A. Afterwards, the author spends time signing books for fans who are there and usually bring their own copies of the book. Other participants can purchase one at the event, so it's important to arrive with enough copies to have available.

What Are The Benefits of a Book Signing Event?

Author book signings enhance your public recognition. They're an excellent method for increasing your visibility and introducing new readers to your books, or engaging with your existing fanbase.

Unlike speaking engagements or virtual events, book signings allow authors to truly connect with readers and vice versa, fostering a more personal connection. The signing, especially when combined with a reading at the event, can be a powerful motivator to attract people and generate excitement about you and your writing.

Book Signing Can Increase Sales During And After Event

Most of the time, a book signing is more than just a chance to get publicity. At well-attended events, many copies of an author’s book, or books, get sold. You can incentivize sales by providing a special discount on your book to attendees. You could offer a deal for anyone who buys multiple books or a series. It will enhance book sales and be advantageous for fans who attend your event. Book collectors often value book signings as they increase the worth of the books with the author's signature, so having a few hard copies on hand is a good idea. Devoted fans find personal value in an author's signature and personalized message.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Book Signing?

Cost can be one of the disadvantages for indie authors. Traditional publishers organize and finance book signing tours for their authors, often spending large sums of money to promote them. However, if you are an independent author, you'll probably have a tight budget in the beginning and will need to be creative to find ways to cut costs. Create your own bookmarks and pre-order copies of your books well in advance to avoid a large expense in a single month to ensure you have enough copies for the event.

You may also need to consider additional miscellaneous costs related to the book signing, such as venue rental or required equipment. Before the event, make sure to inquire about these specifics from your host to prevent unexpected charges.

Lastly, you'll have to pay for your travel to and from the venue. The cost and complexity can change based on how far away you live. To balance this out, consider collaborating with another author in your genre on the signing.

Preparation Is The Key

(1)   Book signings can last as long as 3 hours, so make sure you have enough time for the readers.

(2)   Before you leave home, create a checklist to ensure you have all the necessary items.

(3)   A long black tablecloth is perfect for concealing hidden boxes underneath and beverage stains.

(4)   Place a variety of candies or chocolates in an attractive candy dish. Ensure that there are sugar-free options available.

(5)   Don't forget to bring more than one pen and consider purchasing them from vendors like Vista Print. By doing this, you can place your logo on the pens and distribute them to customers who purchase books.

(6)   Use plastic or wire book stands to display a copy of each of your books.

(7)   Invite a friend or family member to go along to help bring people to the table. Ask them to capture photos for you to share on social media afterward and ensure that your books are stocked on the table and the candy dish stays filled.

When done with some creativity and planning, book signings can provide a chance to enhance your author marketing platform and be a pleasant experience for both you and the reader. So take a leap of faith and step out of your comfort zone; you might just have the best experience of your life.

Susan Berry

Author Consultant.

 Restless Hearts Publishing

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