We just had an amazing signing at the Doylestown Bookshop. Over 25 people came to hear about Robin Goldblum's first book, "Dangerous Kisses, Gruesome Bites." The Doylestown Bookshop even stocked some of Robin's books on their shelves that day!
Our success wasn't magical or accidental.
1. Choose the right location.
Bookstores are can be doubly tough on self-pubbed authors. They can be very busy with other author events, and they will take a nice chunk of your book sale profit. Libraries, coffee shops and schools are awesome partners. Doylestown Bookshop happens to be an indie bookstore with a strong local authors program. Working with them was fantastic!
2. Advertise too much.
There are tons of places to advertise local events for free. A Facebook event page can be quite useful. Invite the fans of your author page, and go ahead with some paid Facebook ads. Posters near the location can be a nice touch. Don't forget to advertise on the big day too. Send out reminders on the web and set some balloons out front with your lovely reusable sign. (Come on, you can print out a poster at Walgreens for $10.)
3. Have a reason for people to stop.
There is nothing wrong with a classic bowl of candy, but I love giving out raffle tickets. People pause to listen to what the prizes are and come back to hear about your book and see if they won.
4. Craft a great logline.
In movie lingo, a logline sums up an entire movie in one sentence. You need to be able to quickly convey the appeal of your book to a potential reader.
5. Give them a reason to stay, or come back.
If you have a 2-hour block it's a good idea to have 3-5 events planned. They can be activities, readings or prize giveaways. Cake works too.
6. Send something home with them.
Not everyone will buy at the signing. In fact, not even half will purchase that day. But that's okay. Send them home with a postcard, a bookmark or a sticker. You don't need to bust out expensive swag for a solo signing, but you might need to up your game at a reader event so you stick out from the competition.
Bonus tip: Before I do any public speaking I give myself time for a quick run. This tricks my body into thinking my nerves are just leftover adrenaline. Then I feel energized instead of anxious.
Have you been to some awesome reader events or any that were just sad? My theory has to do with chocolate...