Today Siv Ottem's cover art for her debut novel, Secrets of the Ash Tree, is being revealed by Michael Di Gesu, the cover artist. Be sure to visit his site after reading this post!
*Excerpt from How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now!
Upon hearing the words “book signing,” most people think of a bookstore. And in the past, bookstores were great places for authors to meet readers and fans.
The decline of the bookstore and the emergence of e-books has changed that aspect. Fewer stores mean fewer opportunities for signings. Many people have converted to e-books, and while there are ways to autograph e-books, they’re difficult to sell in the store. (Although it’s not impossible, as signings at a Barnes and Noble can involve Nook sales.) The ease of self-publishing means there are more authors, too. Meeting a real live author in person just isn’t a novelty anymore.
However, there are those who still treasure an autographed book. And since fostering relationships is important, personal appearances can still spur sales.
With bookstores on the decline, where else can you do a signing? The possibilities are endless! Depending on the subject matter of your book, consider these venues:
• Gift stores
• Specialty stores
• Coffee shops
• Arts and crafts fairs
• Farmers markets
• Political conventions
• Church events
• Trade shows
• Neighborhood events
• Gym or YMCA
• School and college events
• Cruise ships
Use your creativity to think of other opportunities.
Consider ways you could turn a signing into an event by doing a reading, giving a talk, conducting a workshop, etc. Your appearance could tie in with a local event or involve other authors.
Publishers and publicists sometimes send authors on tour. Due to the cost, most authors don’t get to enjoy this luxury. Often it is up to you to set up your own appearances.
Here’s a checklist of the proper etiquette for setting up and conducting a book signing:
• Contact the venue a couple months in advance via a letter and/or a phone call. Similar to pitching the media, you should be prepared to explain the benefits of your appearance and what you will do to bring in customers.
• Confirm the date and how they intend to acquire books. Will they order from your wholesaler or publisher, or will you be expected to bring your own books?
• Send a media release out to contacts in the area about your appearance and list it in every free event calendar.
• Send out invitations, either physical or emails, to your personal and business contacts in the area.
• Check for local book clubs and writer groups and invite them as well.
• If applicable, you might even want to contact local schools, colleges, businesses, or organizations.
• Send the store promotional materials several weeks in advance, such as bookmarks and posters.
• Confirm the date the week before the event and make sure the venue has books on hand.
• Arrive early to set up your display table and meet with the staff.
• Be sure your display table is attractive and enticing. Use props, displays, candy, giveaways, a signup sheet, etc.
• Engage those who walk by your table—don’t just sit there!
• Hand out bookmarks to every person you meet.
• Don’t be afraid to roam the store or venue.
• Offer to sign extra books.
• Thank everyone before you leave and send a handwritten thank you card afterward. (You’d be surprised how many fail to do this.)
Any other book signing tips or locations?