We’ve already covered how YOU must contact stores to book your signing events, so today I want to talk about some things you can do to make them successful.
Write an announcement for the store to use over their intercom. They won’t do this on their own, but if you ask them to announce it several times during the event, they probably will. It will help get those customers out of the music/movie departments over to you.
If space provides, stage your table. Don’t just have a stack of books. Decorate it. On the cover of LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT, there’s a picture of a coffin. My husband built a replica and I display my books in it. The coffin alone draws a crowd! Choose something from your book and focus on that, even if it’s only a poster of the cover. There are many places that do author related printing. I use Vistaprint.com and OvernightPrints.com for bookmarks, business cards, posters, etc.
About ten days before the event, take a flyer to the store announcing when your event will take place. It should have a picture of you, with a short bio and a picture of your book/books with a short description. While there, you might even ask if they want YOU to place it somewhere, that way, you can choose the best place. Sometimes they’ll let you and sometimes they won’t. Take tape with you just in case.
Lately, I’ve been offering a give-away. I call people over to my table by asking…”would you like to register to win a free book?” It’s not for the book I’m selling and signing that day, it’s for the book I have coming out next. Not only will you open conversation with the person, but you’ll get their email address on the registration form. Then you can contact them about future events, giveaways, upcoming release dates, and you can thank them for registering and let them know who won the book.
The giveaway is something you’ll want to include in the store announcement.
If you don’t want to sponsor a give-away, you can have them sign a guest book at your table, but I’ve had better luck with a give-away.
Always arrive early. Generally, the store will have your area set up, but just in case they don’t, if you get there 15-20 minutes early, you can be sure to get it all in place before the event starts.
Take a camera and take pictures with customers. Post them on Facebook or your website. It’s great advertising.
Hand out copies of five-star reviews you’ve gotten on Amazon or other places to potential customers. Remember, they may have Kindles or Nooks. If you give them those great recommendations, they may just go home and order it. CHA-CHING!
Ask your customers if they belong to a book club. If they do, offer to speak at one of their meetings. You may just get them to read your book as one of their selections. CHA-CHING!
Before you leave, look up the person who scheduled the signing for you and personally thank them. Ask if they would be open to doing another signing in the future…hey, you’re going to have more books, you’ll need more promotion!
Look for places that will announce your book signing events for free. I’m a member of our local writing club, Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization and because they are members of the Chamber of Commerce, they will list my events calendar in their newsletter! We also have an East Texas publication dedicated to events in the area; they’ll list them as well…for free! You may not make sales from those free listings, but you will be getting your name out there every month.
Lastly, and this is so important, although you thanked them personally the day of the event, send a hand written thank-you to the person who booked the event for you, even though you did most of the work!! Let them know how much you appreciate the effort they put forward and how thankful you are that they’re willing to support local/first-time/indie/small press/ authors. Believe me, a kind word means more than you know.
***Guerilla promotion: You know all those solicitations for insurance, credit cards, etc. you receive in the mail with the postage paid return envelope? I put a bookmark in it and mail it back!! Hey, someone will open it and see the title and picture of your book. You never know when it will be an avid reader!! CHA-CHING!
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