Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Making a Book Signing Successful Requires Planning

5 min read
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Many writers nab a book signing opportunity but sometimes don’t prepare correctly for it

The chance to have a book signing is an exciting opportunity.

And it often leads to more sales if writers wait until they have a few works under their name to host a book signing.

Setting yourself up for success is key. By this, it means planning beforehand and afterward, because it can make a difference in readership and gaining other opportunities.

Why don’t we break this down?

Before a book signing

Many writers aren’t aware that you are able to have book signings just about anywhere.

However, the key here is having them in a place that makes sense and maybe even ties into your book somehow. By doing so, you will be able to connect with readers by paying attention to the details and it will feel as if you went the extra mile. Here are some places you can choose:

  1. Gardening store: Maybe your book is about flowers (children’s book, non-fiction, gardening, or even a mystery surrounding a garden).

  2. Furniture store: Maybe this business could really use some more people coming in, why not work together? And it wouldn’t hurt if this tied into your books such as the family heirloom furniture piece or the main character owns a furniture business.

  3. Public Library: Having one here can snag you some readers who may not find you otherwise

  4. Coffee shops and cafes: These are places where everyone chooses. Why? Because they are popular places to find readers.

After you find your venue is the time to start preparing and building momentum.

You want to spread the word that this event is happening. You can do this by the following:

  1. Creating fliers for community boards

  2. Creating social media videos

  3. Talking with podcasts

  4. Advertising it by hosting a giveaway up until the event

  5. Share what will happen at the event (Example: I’m hosting a book signing at Gish’s Gardening store, enter for a chance to win a signed copy of the book and a first gardeners kit!)

When you start creating these promotional items and posting them, be sure to tag the venue you are working with on social media.

Remember that you are working hand in hand with them, so this means that providing them with a copy of the flier they can post in their stores will help existing customers learn about the event. Providing them with as many tools to help spread the word will increase your turnout.

During the book signing

It isn’t enough for writers to simply bring their books, change, and a card reader for purchases.

Readers who are coming to meet you and potentially buy your book want to know you value their business. My recommendation is to treat it as a pop-up shop for your business and sometimes this requires some creative thinking. What can you offer them other than your books?

Here is what you should bring for your table:

  • Pens

  • A spare notepad in case someone needs to write out their name for you

  • A candy jar with mints or wrapped candies

  • Business cards

  • A nice tablecloth

  • Bookmarks

Just these small touches create an inviting atmosphere and set your book signing apart from many others.

After you set up your table is a great time to take photos or have someone take a photo of you and your table for social media. Be sure to tell people about the event and where to find you.

Remember to offer the ability to sign copies for readers without having to purchase a book.

You may have readers come who wanted simply to come and meet you, and who have already purchased your books. This provides a great opportunity to connect with them, ask their thoughts on the books, and maybe even pose for a picture.

After the book signing

After the book signing is done, you still have a little more work to do.

First and foremost, send a thank you note to the venue for hosting you at their business. Doing so shows you care and enables you to create long-lasting relationships.

Be sure to thank the venue for hosting you on social media.

Ways you can do this are like this: Thank you to Gish's Gardening Store for hosting my book signing. While I worked with Gish’s I noticed how personable they are with each customer and how inviting the atmosphere is. If you are looking to update your garden, Gish’s is the place for you.

After some time has passed, working with specific venues could offer certain opportunities.

If you are an indie author and you have a book that ties into a business like a gardening store where you did your signing, talk to them about carrying it in their store. You never know, they may agree.

Having a book signing is a big deal as a writer, which means that you must treat it as such.

Remember to work together with the venue and be a team player and you can create some wonderful business opportunities for yourself.