Planning your first book signing can seem overwhelming. At least that’s how I felt just before my first book signing for ‘Light from a Dark Night‘. Prior to my big day I read lots of articles on how to price my book and talk to people as they passed by. However, after the event I realized there was one thing no one ever told me to do: expect the unexpected! After the book signing event, I realized how unprepared I was for many things that day. So buckle up! I’ve got ten insider tips to share with everyone at Author’s Lounge for your first or next book signing event.
10: Expect to enjoy other authors with tables near you
As I was preparing for my book signing table, I didn’t give the other authors who would be there much thought. I was focused on myself: my outfit choice, table design, snacks, and book placement. Upon arrival each author was setting up a table. After display tables were set, everyone was walking around and chatting with each other. I didn’t expect to make friends and laugh so much.
9: Expect to purchase other Author’s books
My daughter was with me at this event. We spent a lot of time talking to other Author’s and listening to their stories. I did not expect to purchase so many books in a variety of genres. We were honestly inspired by the passion of each person. So plan on taking some extra cash for book purchases for yourself or to use as gifts.
8: Expect excitement to be your food
I packed plenty of food and snacks for the event knowing my daughter was with me and we wouldn’t be able to leave our book signing table for lunch. I didn’t expect communicating would be my food! I was so busy and enjoyed talking that I never felt hungry until the event was over. So go ahead and pack some food but realize you may not munch on any of it.
7: Expect to get emotional about the topic of your book
Writing can be a very solitary experience. I spent three years writing ‘Light from a Dark Night’ and thought my emotions were laid bare on the pages of the book. I did not expect to become emotional talking about my daughter’s adoption and the experiences I wrote of in the book. Whether your book is about your own life or a character you are passionate about doesn’t matter. Until you begin to communicate with potential readers there is no way to know the impact talking about your book will have on you. And if your emotions and writing makes an impact on someone else well…that’s the magic you’ve dreamed of. Make sure to have some tissues handy!
6: Expect Amazon book reviews to give credibility
No one told me book reviews would sell books at a book signing event. So I was completely surprised when I heard people exclaim, “Oh look, Amazon book reviews”. Thinking about it later I realized the Amazon book reviews lend instant credibility to you and your book. No wonder why top Authors request pre-release book reviews. They sell books. Purchase a clear stand holder or picture frame and proudly display the reviews of your choice.
5: Expect your writing journey to be interesting
On a whim, I brought along my first, second, third, and final book drafts as well as cover changes. The drafts were marked up with edits and the covers drastically changed from draft to draft. You might be interested to know it can be hard to engage some people as they walk by. Inside you are dying to say something but don’t know what. Some people are interested in the process of things and your drafts and covers will give you some talking points in those awkward silent moments.
4: Expect to be tongue tied when talking about your book
I’m a people person and I did not expect my mind to blank out when talking about my book. The number one question you will be asked is, “What is your book about”? If you are not prepared you will blabber on and not appear to be the authority of your topic. If you can’t succinctly tell a potential buyer what your book is about in 10 seconds-they will keep walking. I recommend coming up with two, one sentence statements which clearly articulate the subject matter of your book. Why two? Because you will repeat these over and over. Write them down on a cheat sheet for your event. And practice them ahead of time. In front of a mirror. You will thank me for this!!
3: Expect to write personal notes inside book covers
Something I read ahead of time was to prepare a signature statement along with my autograph. Something quick but unique. It took me a while but I came up with my line. I recommend practicing writing this out several times so it becomes second nature but it’s also nice to have it handy on a 3 x 5 card just in case you blank out. (As an aside, buyers will stare at what you write as you are writing. It can be unnerving. So being prepared will help.)
I thought my line was quite good until I met two ladies. As I wrote my line in the first lady’s book I noticed she began to tear up a little. What I was writing was meaningful to her. As I began to write in her friends book, I followed my gut and wrote something different based on what we’d talked about. She hugged me after reading it. If you have the time use this opportunity to write something personal which might change someone’s life.
2: Expect to have the best day of your life
I was excited for my first book signing but never expected it to be the best day of my life. I’d rank it right after my wedding day and birth of my children. On that day I was exactly the person I’d dreamed of being; living out exactly the life I felt was truly me. Does that even make sense?? I hope so! My family, friends, and visitors made the day super special. After spending so much time writing it is amazing to get out and mingle and get real life feedback on my work. You’ll never remember how many books you sold but you will remember the people who came to support you.
1: Drum roll please! Expect to make an impact on your family
Why is this number one? Because we don’t intentionally set out to make an impact on our own family. I will make a prediction: when your family sees you as an AUTHOR, aside from being proud of you, they will be led to follow their own dreams as well. All day long, I talked to people about ‘Light from a Dark Night’ which is about, “NEVER GIVING UP ON YOUR DREAMS”. My daughter listened and upon our arrival home, she went straight to her computer and researched how to write a children’s book. She also wrote an online journal entry about following your dreams. I realized what an impact this day had upon her and know she will pursue her dreams whatever they may be. If you’ve finished and published a book then you know the joy of seeing a dream fulfilled and you have a great platform to share this joy with others.
For many there is still something mystical about those who write and publish a book. There is great interest in the process of writing as well as the dedication and determination it takes to finish a book. You will greatly impact and inspire those around you in ways you completely haven’t expected. But after reading this, my hope is that you will expect it and go on to inspire the world one person at a time.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And, if you’d like to read more-jump on over to my blog at www.letteroflight.com.
Wishing you all the best, Anne
Anne Grove is Author of ‘Light from a Dark Night’ and writes for Letter of Light. Anne enjoys her family, writing and making art videos.