“How did your book signing go?” I’ve been asked this question several times this week, and I’ve been pondering how to answer.
It’s tempting to say, “It was terrific! I sold all the copies I brought, and had people lined up out the door, waiting to have me sign their books!”
But that would not be strictly (or even remotely) true. However, I suspect it may be the kind of report people are searching for when they ask if a book signing was a success.
So here’s the more accurate account: I read some excerpts from three of my books, sold and autographed two books, and thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent at Crossroads Books and Coffee.
In the process, I learned some important “do”s and “don’t”s about how to have a successful author event.
- Bring along friends and relatives. They can serve as a ready-made audience, so that other bookstore patrons get the idea and sit down to listen when you begin to read.
- Bring lots of business cards. Even if people don’t buy your book right then, they may check out your website later.
- Bring colorful signs to post around the store to get people’s attention.
- Introduce yourself. I walked around the store, gave customers my cards, and told them that I was about to give a reading in five minutes. This was a great way to get people’s attention.
- Have unrealistic expectations. Not everyone in the store will buy your book. That’s okay. With the sale of even a single book, you reach one new reader.
- Allow your concentration to be broken. When reading in a coffee shop, you can expect some significant background noise: cups clanking, baristas calling out orders, coffee grinders whirring. Stay focused and project your voice. If you are distracted, your audience will be, too.
- Take the opportunity for granted. The store managers weren’t obligated to give you this chance to meet their customers. Don’t fail to express your thanks.
So there you have it. I had a fun time, learned a lot, and got to share my writing with the public. All in all, I’d say it was a great success.