Last week I talked about the nerves that come with having a new release. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely problem to have. But I can tell you they don’t subside any time soon. It helps that I’m so busy with promotion for the book that I don’t have that much time to be nervous these days. I do the majority of my promotion online using blogs, Twitter and Facebook, but I also try to do at least one book signing my hometown.
I can’t remember which publicist told me this years ago, but she said one book signing in each city was the best way to target your audience. She is right. When you have multiple signings in a city, it becomes less of an event. And that’s what a book signing should be, an event.
Otherwise you spend a good portion of your time begging people to take a bookmark and giving directions to the bathroom. Before authors are published they have dreams of lines that go around the building filled with fans waiting for a scribble on some paper. That does happen for some folk, but it’s not the norm. I think one of the biggest lines I’ve ever seen was for cooking maven Paula Deen. The book seller had asked my friend and I to come to the signing because she was worried no one would show up. When we arrived, the line was all the way out the door and around a good portion of the mall outside.
Most of the big NYT’s folks can pull in a crowd, but for the majority of authors that isn’t a case. That’s why you need to make your signings special.
In your hometown make it a big party. Have a tea or dinner before or after the signing and make it personal. (People can pay for their own food, the cool part is that they get to hang out with you.) Have fun giveaways and make sure you do invites where people should RSVP. Expect about a fourth of the people you invite to show up.
If you’re traveling to another city– do yourself a favor and make friends before hand. See if you can do a multi-author signing with some of the writer folks who are well-known in that town. Ask your fans to host some kind of event or tie it into a convention/writer’s workshop/class and use your books as examples so people will have to buy them in order to know what the hell you are talking about.
There are tons of ways to make your book signings special. I’d like to hear some suggestions from you guys. Any ideas?
Oh, and my book signing for Take Me if You Dare is Saturday, Feb. 6, from 2-4 p.m. at the Hurst, Texas Barnes & Noble.