5 Ways to Make a Splash and More Cash at Your Next Book Signing
How did you do at your last book signing? If you're like many authors, you sold three or fewer books. If you expect to do better than this grim statistic, you've got to gear up before your next book signing. No one can guarantee what your results will be, but here are five ways to increase your chances of making a splash and more cash.
1. Promote your book signing with a blast, not a whisper
It's great to get booked to do a book signing at a bookstore or other venue. It's likely they will promote your book signing on their websites, newsletters or signs, but plan to your own promotion as well. Many authors are introverts, but this is no time to be shy.
- Send out your own press releases to local newspapers, preferably directing them to the reporter who handles such events.
- Send out announcements to your friends, family, email list, your clubs and church, as well as social media fans inviting them to attend your event.
- Create a blog post or article about your upcoming event.
- Create flyers and post them at coffee shops and restaurants that allow announcements on their community boards.
- Create short videos on your homepage, pin to the top of your Twitter feed, or create Facebook Lives, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn videos.
2. Make it a festive event
You may not have control over where your table or booth will
be located at the venue, so make it as eye-catching as possible. If you are one of many authors at a fair or festival, you want attendees to spot your display as soon as they walk through the door. It's tough to sell books to people who never stop by your table. Here are a few ways to make your display festive.
- Set up a cluster or two of helium balloons that color-coordinate with your book cover.
- Display your books in a three tier unit rather than lay them flat on the table.
- Put out a dish of wrapped mints or chocolates for people that pass by.
- Invest in a tabletop or retractable floor banner.
- Display relevant posters or items. If your book is about the best places to visit in Paris, be sure to display Paris-themed items/posters.
- One author of children's books had life-size figures created in the likeness of her main characters.
3. Use your talents or relevant tools to engage visitors.
- Set up a short video or book trailer on your computer and let it run throughout the event.
- Be prepared to pitch your book to people who stop by and ask "What is your book about?" It may be clear to me that my book Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve, offers tips and advice on creating a happy life, it is not that clear to everyone. Some people see the word"color" and think it's an art book. Even though there's a description on the back of the book, many can't absorb it in a few seconds. Most of all, people want to know how can this book help me? Be ready to answer that.
- If possible, take someone with you who can mingle with the crowd and direct them to your table to get a freebie you're offering or chance to win something.
- Do you have a special talent such as playing an instrument, making balloon animals, doing magic tricks, juggling? If so, delight visitors to your table a quick demo. Be sure it ties into your book theme, of course.
- Wear a t-shirt with your book title or get one that encourages people to ask about your book.
4. Make it your goal to connect, not sell
Warmly greet each person who slows down at your table. Yes, you hope they'll buy your book, but if they don't buy at the event, you want them to remember you and possibly buy your book later.
- I like to stand in front of the table, hand the visitor a copy of my book and ask them to open to any page and read the first thing their eyes land on. Then I ask them to tell me if what they read was relevant to their lives. I want to emphasize that while my book can be read from beginning to end, it also has nuggets of wisdom and encouragement no matter what page you open.
- Be prepared to pitch your book to those who ask, "What is your book about?"
- Ask visitors to sign up to be added to your email list if they want updates on your work.
- Take photos with attendees and post on your website and social media after the event.
5. Give away something memorable
- Make your giveaways standouts, not just handouts. A regular bookmark is ok, but one with tips related to your topic is better. The visitor may refer to your bookmark later and share it with friends.
- Give away a consumable with your contact information on the wrapper. One of my favorite handouts is a customized cover wrapped around a packet of microwaveable popcorn. I give one to every person who stops by my table and inquires about my book, whether they buy a book or not. The wrapper has my contact information and of course the URL to the book. You can customize a chocolate bar or other item in the same way. You will get loads of ideas from Pinterest and Etsy.
- I put each purchased book in a gift bag or book bag personalized with my book title.
- People hesitate to throw away bags they believe they can use again.
- If the event holds a raffle, enter not just your book, but a gift basket or bag with your book as the centerpiece. Attach your business card as the gift tag. The lady who won my gift basket on the right sent me a heartwarming thank you note, citing every gift item that was enclosed. Do think she'll remember me?
When you use these tips at your next book signing, you can expect to rake in more cash, and definitely make a splash.