Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So You Want To Do A Signing....

So the 30th of every month you will be seeing (or rather reading) me, Adrianne James.  I have been with the Indie Ignites since the beginning but have been lacking in the posting department. So, from this day forward, at least once a month you all will get to know a little more about me and my experiences as an indie.

For today’s post, I thought I would go into a little about signings. How to prepare for them, how to behave at them, and how to make the most of the readers that are there. I have only been to a few, but I have definitely seen an improvement in not only sales but online followers and fans in general after each one. I am sure there are other methods of preparing for a signing, but this is what I have done and what has worked well for me.

First thing’s first, you need to either organize a solo signing or find a big author signing to be part of. There are a few Facebook groups dedicated solely to author events around the country and some even have lists of worldwide signings.

As for local signings, find anywhere and everywhere that will have you. I have been to my local book store that is supportive of indie authors (that also has my paperbacks on their shelves), I am doing a local car show and swap meet that is a staple in my town every year, and I will be doing another local event that celebrates the founding of our town and the small businesses in it. Next week I will be going back to the book store to set up yet another signing and heading to the library to see about a signing there. The more people see you, the better. And I have found that when a reader meets you in person, when you are someone they can say lives near them/in their town/they went to high school with/however else they know you, they tend to promote you even more if they enjoyed your books.

Okay, so now you are all set to do a signing. WOOHOO! Now what? Do you need a ton of stuff to give away? How many books should you have printed up to sign? OMG ALL THE MONIES YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE!!??!

Yeah, let’s take this step by step. First, pat yourself on the back for having the courage to do a signing. Dude, the first one is super nerve racking. Will they like me? Will I sell anything? Will I make a giant ass out of myself? What if I spill my lunch down my top and have to sign books with spaghetti sauce all over my boobs? If you can sign up for a signing despite the fears, you my friend, are kick ass.

For your first signing, I wouldn’t go overboard with swag (the term given to goodies authors hand out for free). Keep in mind that besides bookmarks, most paper products end up on the floor or in the trash. Unless you put a code for a free or discounted book on it. Readers love those. Seriously, they are like gold at signings. Readers tend to like swag that they can actually use. Pens, note pads, hand sanitizer, chapstick, shot glasses. But don’t think this means a ton of money. Some swag can cost you, others don’t add up to much when you think of it as advertising.

You can get good quality bookmarks and other printed materials from,,, and many many others. For smaller giveaways I use,,, or a few others. There are a ton of companies out there for you to choose from. Google is your friend in finding the coolest things to give away with your NAME and your BOOK on it. Do not forget that these nifty giveaways aren’t just because you are freaking awesome and love gifting people with cool stuff, but because you want them to remember you.

A banner is also a good idea. Especially one large enough for people to see from far away. It can be for you as an author or for a book or series specifically. You don’t have to have one, but they are a nice addition to any signing.

Books. You want to know how many books to bring right? Well, first things first, WHERE are you signing? Is it a small event or a large event? Do you have a huge following that knows you will be there and will want signed books, or was this an impromptu signing that you had little to no time to promote for? All of these matter in the amount of books you bring. But realistically, you will only need between 5 and 10 of any title unless it’s a brand new title, then I would go up to twenty for a large signing. 

So now you have your signing set up, your books and your swag. Now it’s time to PROMOTE yourself and the signing! Let people know you will be there. If the signing is a larger event being run with other authors, there may be graphics already designed that you can post. You can chat with other authors going and set up a cross promotion. But most importantly, don’t forget to let your readers know you will be there. If it’s a local signing, tell anyone and everyone you talk to about it. Seriously. If you are going out to dinner, tell the server. At the gas station filling up? Ask the attendant if they love to read. You can even print off a few flyers for the small event and hand them out around town.

Okay, time to take a breath. Are you ready to head to your signing?! IT’s TIME!

Always arrive early. Not too early that you are an inconvenience to the host of the signing, but never and I mean never arrive late unless there was some serious life or death situation going on. If you happen to get caught in traffic or whatever other reason could hold you back, make sure you have contact information for the person in charge to let them know what is going on. There is nothing that will turn readers off more than an author they have been waiting on to show up late without a solid reason. Some readers will drive hours to see you, at least make sure you tell them you care about them by being there on time.

So there you are, sitting behind your table with your books proudly on display, your swag out for readers to take and a gazillion (seriously, bring a ton) of pens at the ready to sign some books! But person after person just walks by. How do you get them to come talk to you? SAY HI! Talk to them first! Wave and engage them. Be proactive. Put a smile on your face. Be welcoming and inviting. Introduce yourself, ask them questions, be friendly. Not everyone will read what you write, but they just might remember you later when they are talking to someone who does.

Also, be able to explain your books with a single sentence or two each. You will only hold their attention for so long. Prepare this ahead of time. It is NOT as easy as it sounds. It took me days to figure out my single sentence pitch for each book but it is doable. If that sentence intrigues them, they will ask for more.

Most importantly, make sure they leave with a smile, even if they don’t leave with a book. Making an impression is so important.  More important than the actual sale in my opinion. Signings are about more than selling books. They are about getting yourself out there. You want people to hear your name and say, ‘Oh I’ve heard of them’. You will gain more online followers, who will then hopefully comment and share your posts and their friends will see them, thus introducing you to even more of a readership.

Most of all, have fun and be yourself. Every signing after the first one is a cake walk :D

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