How Was the Book Signing?

“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.

Do:

  • 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.

Don’t:

  • 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.

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