Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Successful Book Signing

By special request... I am covering how to conduct a successful book signing today. Enjoy!
  • #1. PRAY. Do not underestimate this. Even if you don't follow a single, solitary tip from this post, do not forget to pray. It's God's blessing that makes a successful book signing. He gets the glory. He gets the praise. Because your book should be His books. For the record, I know without a doubt that my successful book signings are solely because of Him. So pray and praise.
  • #2. Be personable. Smile...a lot. (I have done it for three years in a row for three days straight each time at my homeschool convention. You can do it too.) Be friendly. Remember that this is about people...whether or not they buy a book. Be encouraging, listen, and relate to them in some way. 
    Knights of the Coffee Table
     Erynn Mangum and Alicia A. Willis
    2015 CAPE Homeschool Convention
  • #3. Have chocolate. Lots of it. It lures stressed out mothers over. It lures kids over, which means the parents have to come get them. It is a magnet that draws people likes flies. And, if you start to get stressed, you can always eat some yourself.
  • #4. Have your sign up sheets for your newsletter or other services you may offer. So someone didn't buy a book? Chances are, they will still sign up for your newsletter. On average, readers have to hear about a book 4-8 times before they buy it. Never underestimate the benefits of having a sheet full of email addresses. They will probably buy your book later.
  • #5. Engage buyers. Don't sit there, silent and dumb, at your table. Talk. Make eye contact and smile. Be warm, friendly, and uplifting. Who wants to read a book by a boring, silent author?
  • #6. Are you confident in your work? All of us authors struggle with insecurities. We all question if our books are good enough. But don't ever show that side of yourself to your potential buyers. Be confident. Love your work...and be grateful for this special time of sharing it with the world.
  • #7. Be ready with your hooks - your elevator pitch. Know how to describe your book in two sentences or less. Know what your genre is, what the best age-range is, and who your target audience. I am blessed to write historical-fiction, which is pretty much for everybody. Not every genre is like that. 
  • #8. Be considerate and realistic. Please, if you write chick-lit, don't try to sell your books to a seventy-five year old man (unless it's for his cute teenage granddaughter). Awesome as your books are, they are not for everybody. Period.
  • #9. Someone comes out and tells you to your face that he/she does not like your genre? It's not personal. Really. They just don't read your genre and are not interested. Be just as friendly as you would be with someone who bought a book. Chances are, they will take a business card to share with a friend who does read your genre.
  • #10. Speaking of business cards... Do you have professional marketing materials? Business cards? A nice banner? Don't be cheap. Go to Vistaprint and have your materials made up nicely...not printed out on the home printer.
  • #11. How are you dressed? Really. It matters. Be professional!
  • #12. Your handwriting matters. Whether it's signing a book or autographing a business card for that sweet smiling little girl... Please have nice handwriting and a nice pen. Oh, and always double check the spelling of names before you sign a book. 
  • #13. Get photographs of your table. And maybe some with you and your readers. Share them later on social media or in your newsletter.
  • #14. Have fun. Don't spend all your time chatting with whoever you are sharing a table with (which I recommend) - pay attention to your customers and what you are there for. But have fun. Enjoy yourself. No matter what. You don't sell very many books? got experience. Maybe you handed out business cards. You raised awareness. You got some emails. Enjoy and don't worry about the results - they are God's! :)

What are your favorite tips for book signings?

Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!


  1. Such an awesome post, Alicia! I really needed to read this. Thank you! I'm pinning this post to Pinterest to refer back to it when necessary. :-)

    Hope you have a great day!


  2. Alicia, thank you so much for responding to my request with this article. Some very good points here. You should really try #2 after just getting your wisdom teeth out and going dry socket! I have, and it's loads of fun.

    I think we may need to do the chocolate thing this year. Last year we gave away a Catan game and this year we're doing an AIO season CD, but I don't know... chocolate probably tops both.

    One thing I struggle with is being able to give customers "space." No one wants to stand there and read a sample with the author staring at them. But where is the author going to go? This year we'll be tweaking the booth setup to provide a place where they can be sort of behind us and away from the flow of traffic. So we'll see how that goes.

    1. Oh, you poor thing! Wow, I couldn't imagine! You have courage to do a book signing in that state. I know I couldn't do it!

      You know... I've done a table with folks who gave away a Kindle Fire! And, funny thing is, people were still more interested in the chocolate... Go figure.

      Hmmm. Yeah, I've wondered about that. I left my table with a friend a few times. But, funny thing is, people always came while I was gone and refused to buy anything until I came back. They wanted to buy the book from the author. Period. But every case is different.... :)

  3. Wow, I really needed this. With a big event coming up, I have been searching for info on what will make me stand out and what things make a successful book signing. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Glad it was helpful! Best wishes for your book signing!

  4. I've found that having candy out is a big bonus, for people passing by and for me! lol! 100% agree with all of these! Especially on checking how names are spelled, even if you think you now how! I just started a newsletter and made sign up sheets for future signings on a customer's recommendation. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it before! But I'm ready to go for the next event! Great post and good luck with future signing! :)

    1. No kidding! ;) We need the candy too! :) Good luck with your next signing too!

  5. This excellent advice came just in time, Alicia! I'm putting out some books at a book sale tomorrow and, though it's not exactly a convention or book-signing, these tips are great to keep in mind. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Kelsey! :) I hope it goes well for you! :)


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