The purpose of a book signing is to sell yourself as an amazing author of books people want to read.

You are there to entice readers and create fans!

When I mention the words “book signing,” you’re probably thinking about that last book signing you attended for a big-name author. There were probably people lined up around the corner to get their books signed.

Sounds pretty exciting, right? I bet you’re just imagining that happening to you someday. And maybe someday it will. Always keep a positive outlook.

However, for 95% of authors (indie or traditional), this isn’t the case.

Sorry. Tough love. But better you hear it from me now than allow yourself to wallow in a false sense of crushing defeat after your first book event.

Your dreams may come true, but for now, let’s adjust your perspective and give you a more realistic outlook.

First, let’s define what a book event is. 

A book event is any opportunity for you to showcase your work to people who love to read.

Now, let’s add the elements that make it a success.

You showed up (early)

You have plenty of space to showcase your work

You have enough books to display and sell

You have enough giveaway items like bookmarks or business cards to hand out

You sell one book!

Truth be told, you can count it as a success just for showing up. Book events are not for the faint of heart. It takes bravery to put yourself out there. You’re center stage. Under the spotlight. If your public speaking skills are somewhat shaky, you might take some time to practice your book pitches and a few easy conversation starters.

Places to sign and sell books

A book event is any opportunity for you to showcase your work to people who love to read.

While primarily held in bookstores or libraries, book events can be held just about anywhere. Sometimes it’s better for you as an author to think outside of the box when looking to set up an event.

Brick and Mortar bookstores

If you’re at a bookstore, this is an opportunity to put your book in front of potential new readers. They are there looking for a new book to read. And guess what, you just happen to have a new book!

Pros

*Signing books in a Big Box Store feels like hitting the big time. Ego Boost!

*In most cases, you are the spotlight author.

*High traffic location with people ready to buy books.

*Friendly and knowledgeable staff who can help you manage expectations.

*All genres can perform well here

*Networking opportunities with professionals in the book industry. Make friends with your booksellers! It can open doors to future events and more (like speaking engagements). This industry is all about connections. Professional connections are just as important as connections with readers.

Cons

*Your book is competing against every other book in the store for that reader’s dollar.

*You have limited time to capture reader attention. (2 hours on average)

*While all genres are represented not all genres are for all readers.

*Dealing with rejection in person can deflate that boosted ego.

Libraries

If you’re part of a “local authors” event put on by a library or any other book-related organization, this is an opportunity to reach out to your peers and maybe their readers as well. Everyone attending these events has a similar goal in mind to you, “sharing published work.” Writers are also readers. Share, share, share.

Pros

*High traffic location where you can be reasonably sure people attending like to read.

*Friendly and knowledgeable staff who can help you manage expectations.

*All genres can perform well here

*Often host multi-author events. Takes some of the pressure of the spotlight off you.

*Networking opportunities with professionals in the book industry. Make friends with your librarians!

Cons

*Not all people are not at a library to buy a book.

*You have limited time to capture reader attention. (2 hours on average)

*While all genres are represented not all genres are for all readers.

*Often host multi-author events. Creates more traffic. Takes some of the pressure of the spotlight off you. Can also affect your chances at sales.

Conventions

Pros

* Most genres can find a convention to match. This places your book in front of readers who can connect more specifically with it.

Comic Cons are an excellent place to sell Fantasy-genre books

Horror Conventions are an excellent place to sell horror and thriller genre books

Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Romance, etc… You can find a convention connected with almost any topic and genre.

*People attending conventions are generally more eager to talk to vendors and listen to product descriptions

*Puts your books in front of a larger audience.

*Networking opportunities with others in the same or similar genre as your work. Make friends with other vendors.

Cons

*Can be cost-prohibitive. Purchasing vendor space, tavel, tax ID’s, and hotel cost.

Conventions are a pay to play event. You will need to factor the costs in to determine whether or not you want to attempt these.

Unconventional locations

Thinking outside of the box can really help your book gain some added attention.

Bars

Charity events

Schools

Swap Meets

Panels and Speaking engagements

Remember:

A book event is any opportunity for you to showcase your work to people who love to read.

 

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The purpose of a book signing is to sell yourself as an amazing author of books people want to read. You are there to entice readers and create fans! When I mention the words “book signing,” you’re probably thinking about that last book signing you attended for a big-name author. There were probably...