I recently had a book signing for one of my books. This was when taken into context, a success. Over the course of about 3 hours, I was able to connect and re-connect with at least 100 readers. To me, this was part of the success. I also sold 11 books in the same time frame, which is according to the bookstore manager an excellent day.
Before my signing started, I was there about 20 minutes early, and they weren’t quite ready for me, but within 5 minutes my table was set up, and I was ready to go. I just had to arrange my books the way I wanted them.
This turns out to be my advice number 1. Get there early. Again, according to the store manager most authors come right at the time the signing is supposed to begin, and aren’t ready for their readers. Being self-published, this can be a determining factor in book sales for the time you are there.
I was also in a excellent mood. It was my first book signing in about two years, so I think I must have listened to a lot of happy songs that day or whatever. I was saying hello or good afternoon and how are you to every customer who walked past me. It didn’t matter that they weren’t looking for my book, all that mattered was they were in the store, and I was saying hello, after all, I wanted to be polite.
This made my signing a lot for fun, because there were more than a few readers who stopped to look at my book.
Hello, would you like to read In Search of the Lost Ones?
Advice number 2. Say hello, and how are you? (and mean it.) Most people didn’t expect an author to say hello, only to nod in their direction. I had many of the staff comment I was one of the few authors who did this. I suppose being in customer service comes in handy sometimes.
Out of the 11 books I sold, at would say at least 7 came from this simple method of welcoming a potential reader over. They were happy I said hi, and I would call a staff member over just to help- I was a greeter and I was making connections.
I spent much of the time standing—or moving around. It captured a lot of great attention this way. I was not jogging on the spot of anything like this, but just a simple back and forth movement ever so often. I was visible to my readers, and although I had a spot at the front of the store, had I sat down, no one would have seen me. I’m short but this doesn’t mean I have to hide.
Advice number 3. Don’t sit down for long periods. With my book in front of me, I would have disappeared behind it, and some fixtures in front of my table. Visibility is a key to selling books, so even with some challenges, I made it work.
I also was grateful to each person who stopped by and to the staff and managers at the bookstore. They didn’t have to do this for me, and they also didn’t need to be as welcoming. Yes, it would be awesome to have had a spot right up front of the store with the bestsellers behind me, but I was in the front of the store.
Advice number 4. Be thankful, and say thank you. A lot of people at the store were amazed I took the time to say thanks to them. Even when they didn’t make a purchase.
In fact, there should be a thank you note heading the way of the manager. They were the ones who said yes to your request, and the manager was thrilled I did this.
I also made a point that each person who stopped to chat with me got a word of thanks, because they didn’t know me from the next person, and it was nice of them to take time to talk to me. It was even better if they bought a book, but there is always a next time.