Book Signing? What’s the Point
Amanda Albright Still, author of ECHOES OF THE STORM and BRIDES OF THE STORM, The Galveston Hurricane Mystery Series.Tomorrow, I have a book signing. When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day people would line up to buy my books and have a chance to meet me.
Well, they don’t exactly line up. In fact, I’ve had a couple signings when no one came, every author will when they do enough signings.
Still, I’ve done well at them and encourage anyone who has a book to do as many as you can. Some things to remember:
· Stand up for yourself—many authors sit behind a table, seldom making eye contact with potential readers. Stand beside your table. Be bold, hold your book, smile and say, “Hi.” I give out chocolates and postcards that are mainly a Galveston tourist postcard, but also give the information on my books. I explain why chocolate is relevant to my books set in 1901 (the year Hershey’s first mass produced chocolate, so everyone could have it, even the folks in storm-ravaged Galveston) and the postcards I hand out, especially to kids and say, “Send your friends a postcard, they’ll get a kick out of it.”
· Hone your pitch—when someone asks you, “So, what’s your book about?” Have a quick pitch, that elevator talk or what screenwriters call “the log line”, to let potential readers know if they will be interested. For ECHOES OF THE STORM, I say, “Just after the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, another body washes onshore, but this one was murdered.” For BRIDES OF THE STORM my pitch is, “A man, believing his wife died in the 1900 hurricane, is going to remarry, but a day before the wedding, his dead wife shows up.” If they’re still listening, I add, “And then things get really bad.” And if they’re still listening, I speak to them about the 1900 hurricane and some interesting things I’ve learned in my research.
· Create a relationship—this is someone browsing in a book store or at your local market, you’re not going to have a lasting friendship based on this encounter, but find a way to relate to the person, and they will want to buy your book. Before you try to close the deal, share your enthusiasm and let them see why they would want to buy your book.
· Remember why you are there—to promote and sell your book. You promote it by being a good ambassador for your book. Sometimes, that means talking to elderly cranks who have no intention of ever buying anything, but need to talk to someone. Sometimes, it means being kind when someone is rude to you; you never know what they are going through and not everyone will enjoy what you have to show them. Selling books means eventually closing the deal even if you don’t at that moment. Sometimes, no one will come, but there are still the bookstore employees. They are a sales force you need to train so that when a customer comes in looking for a good read, they remember you.