February 22, 2017
I’ve seen many local news shows interviewing authors in the past few weeks and thought offering some more book signing tips might be helpful.
Here are a few things to think about as you set up your own book signings in the future.
- Bring your own copies of your book with you. You’ll want to do this just in case the copies the store ordered for your signing don’t arrive on time.
- Offer value beyond your book and signature. Come with a small presentation or program that will draw people to your book. One author friend writes mysteries with a cooking theme so she comes dressed with a full apron and holds a drawing for a small food basket (this also gets her reader contact information).
- Invest in a small PA system. With so many bookstores also housing cafes, your book signing may end up close to the espresso machine. If you’re prepared with your own PA system, you can turn up the mic and still be heard when the machine goes off.
- Create the signing space that works best for you and your book. The purpose of a book signing is to meet your readers and to sell books. You know your book better than bookstore personnel do, so work with them to set up your signing space to achieve that purpose.
- Do your homework regarding the community in which your signing takes place. You’ll want to know if your signing is competing with church on Wednesday night, with high school football on Friday night, or even with the hottest new television show. There’s no sense in competing with any of these types of happenings.
- Determine your own promotion strategy. Social media, local media (radio, television, and even newspapers), flyers at related venues/events (libraries, book clubs, writing classes, community bulletin boards, etc.) are all possibilities. Don’t forget to email those already in your database, if you have one.
- Let your audience know you enjoy being with them. Smile, shake hands, listen to people, etc. Your job is to let your audience know you’re glad they took the time to come out to meet you.
Book signings can be rewarding or frustrating. Remember readers buy authors, not publishers, so be sure you create a book signing event that makes people glad they came. Happy writing!
February 10, 2017
People buy books based on the author, not on the publisher. Authors do book tours, personal appearances, etc., not publishers. My point? It doesn’t matter which publishing avenue you take, it’s still up to you as the author to get out there and sell your book(s).
Here are some tips for a successful book tour, including local television interviews, panel appearances, presentations, etc.
- Choose clothes you feel comfortable in. For television, be sure you avoid loud prints or stripes. Be aware also that bright reds and blues, whites and blacks can take the focus away from you. Granted, we’re seeing more variety in what people wear on news shows, etc., but why risk taking the focus off of you?
- Keep your eyes on the interviewer rather than looking into the camera (if there is one).
- Show your enthusiasm about your topic. I say topic because you don’t want to appear to just be selling your book. People will be interested in topics more than one specific book title. Yes, you’ll want your book title mentioned, but you don’t want that to be the only thing you talk about.
- Relate your answers to other people (audience, interviewer, viewer). Use phrases like “I think everybody has felt…,” “Have you ever done something that…”, or “Most people have…”
- Prepare for your appearance by having three to five important points. Repeat these same points in every interview, presentation, etc. While it may be repetitive to do so to you, keep in mind that each audience is new and hearing your points for the first time.
- Keep your answers succinct. Get your audience’s attention with phrases such as “The most important idea is…,” “The scariest thing is…,” or “The biggest joy can come from…”
- Avoid yes and no answers because they are boring and dead end. Use words like “Absolutely” or “Never” instead of yes or no.
- Understand that most interviewers or those who introduce you probably have not read your book. Be sure you have an “elevator speech” answer telling what your book is about prepared (that’s an answer you can give in 30 seconds or so).
- Practice, practice, practice. Writing is a solitary activity. Appearances are not. Since doing a book tour is about as opposite from writing as you can get, it’s important you practice so your discomfort doesn’t show. People buy the author, so it’s up to you to make them want to take a part of you (your book) home with them.
You wrote the book and got it published. Now it’s up to you to sell the book. There’s nothing like the feeling of someone willing to spend money to read your writing, so get out there and let the world see you. And don’t forget to keep working on your next book at the same time because once people like you, they’ll want to read more from you. Happy writing!
October 12, 2016
You’ve written your book. You’ve decided to pay to publish it. You’ve got boxes of books stacked in your closet or basement. Now what?
Authors have many publishing options today, yet one thing remains constant–people buy authors they know and like. Thus the author must take responsibility for the marketing of the book in order to get readers to recognize the author’s name.
Competition for the book dollar is as tough as it’s ever been. If you’re trying to recover the investment you made in paying to be published, consider these quick marketing tips.
- Never leave home without bringing copies of your book with you. You never know when you’ll get the opportunity to mention you’re an author and get questions about your book.
- Create your website, write a blog, use social media to get your name out there.
- Consider working with book distributors. Yes, they can take a huge percentage of sales, but they also have contacts you might not otherwise reach.
- Find creative ways to do book events like craft shows, expositions, charity fundraisers, club meetings, partnering with other authors for an event, etc.
- Sign every book you sell. You make a more personal connection with your readers when you do.
- Brainstorm marketing ideas with others and really consider the feasibility of what they offer before deciding for or against their suggestions.
Marketing your book won’t be easy, but neither was writing or publishing it. You need all three components in order to reach your readers. It takes time and determination, but you can do it. Happy writing!
August 4, 2016
You’ve written your book and now you’re hoping to sell it to an agent or publisher. Most likely you’re not a salesperson by nature, so here are some things you should never say when trying to sell your book.
- There’s no other book like it. Sorry to disappoint you, but there’s always another book like it. Your job is to show the agent or publisher why your book differs from the others in the market. It could be the characterization. It could be a new way to approach the nonfiction topic. If you want to sell your book, you need to show how your book compares to what’s already similar (and successful) to what people are buying.
- This book will sell itself in the marketplace. Again, this simply isn’t realistic. James Patterson’s books are about as close as you can come to books selling themselves, yet even he markets his books (I saw him in a television commercial just the other day).
- The audience is anyone who reads. Once more the answer is nope, not so. I read a lot, but I don’t read everything and neither does anyone else. Your job when selling your book is the same as it is when writing it–understand who your core reader is and know your specific audience.
Remember not to say these three things when selling your book and you may improve your success rate. Happy writing!
June 9, 2016
People can’t buy your book unless they’re aware it exists. Whether you self-publish or royalty publish, the marketing is up to the author. Why? People buy authors, not publishers.
Get creative and set up book signings in various venues, not just bookstores. Again, you may ask the why question. In bookstores you’re competing with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other titles. In other venues, your book stands out.
Here are some tips for things to do before your next book signing.
- Connect with people. You do this by talking with as many people as you can. Show them you’re human, personable, and someone they want to know better by reading your book.
- Make a list of local media (newspapers, radio, television). Find out who does author interviews in each one. Request interviews with each venue the week of your book signing event. You can do this with press releases, phone calls, email, or any other method that connects you to the right person. I’ve had local newspapers run feature stories on me and my books, along with photos of me and my books.
- Have your picture taken with the directors, managers, and any other key people in the organization hosting your book signing. Use that picture to publicize your upcoming book signing.
- Create an 11 x 17 poster of your book cover, then laminate it and add a stand-up device to the back so you can stand the poster up at your signing table.
- Consider bookmarks or post cards or flyers showing your book cover and offering information about your book so you can pass them out everywhere you go (not just the book signing). Consider putting your website, the book’s website, and your blog information on any or all of these.
Here are some tips for the day of the book signing.
- Bring plenty of books to sign. You can’t sign what isn’t there.
- Arrive at least 20 minutes early, check the signing set-up, then take a few books and walk around so people can see you, talk with you, and perhaps even take a look at your book. Be sure you wear your name tag or some other way to identify you as the author.
- Talk with employees or volunteers working at your signing to give them a very brief overview of your book (in case someone asks them about it).
- Consider gifting those who helped create your book signing with a signed copy of your book as a thank you.
- Send a thank-you note to the person who originally set up your book signing. I send thank-you notes for gifts, nice gestures, enjoyable events, etc., and am constantly told no one sends thank-you notes anymore, so my doing so was really appreciated.
- Smile and thank the people who ran the book signing, even if you didn’t sell as many books as you hoped. Complaining doesn’t help, so focus on the fun you had, and be sure to ask how many signed copies of the book you should leave for those who wanted to come but couldn’t make it.
The important thing to remember is you’re at the book signing to have fun, meet people, and maybe sell a few books. A book signing is just one step of the book marketing ladder, so enjoy it and learn from it. Happy writing!