Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Writing Wednesday: Getting Out There and Meeting Readers

It's almost July and Summer is definitely here - if not in consistently warm temps, then at least in spirit. School is out, people are hitting the beaches, lakes and pools... and reading for pleasure is back on the agenda.

I've posted before about doing book events and signings - and I know the chatter on my author groups always kicks up around now with newbies asking questions and looking for advice. It's not hard, but it can be daunting to think about putting yourself out there.I know I'm horribly shy most of the time, preferring email over phone calls, and reading a book over going to a party. It takes a lot of effort to put myself out there. But if I can do it, so can you.

So here are my top 5 tips for Authors Doing Book Events...

1. Put yourself out there.
Ask at the local bookstore or gift shop. Go in with a few of your books and your calendar to book a day. Be professional, but be positive. Most shops are happy to host you if you're flexible about dates and times. But work out the details up front. Do they want to buy the books from you, on their own, or let you sell them yourself? Figure it out, and what discount they may want. (Most bookstores demand 40%, other shops are more flexible.)

Take a deep breath and go ask. What's the worst that will happen? They might say no. So what? It's not personal. Say thank you and move on to the next shop.

2. Get professional-looking  posters, postcards, etc.
Vistaprint is short money for the impact of having professional looking stuff at your table. Upload your book cover to make a variety of promotional items. Postcards are great giveaways, to remind people to order the ebook if they claim to be a Kindle-only reader. Make banners and posters that can be reused at more than one event. DON'T use handmade signs, not even for prices or anything... You're a published author. Look professional. Act professional. Be professional.

3. Network with Other Local Authors
An event that has more than one author has greater pull - and casts a wider net on social media and friend networks. Plus, if there are more than one of you walking into shops, that's more potential gigs in total. And there's the added plus of someone to chat with during the setup and the inevitable lulls between chatting with readers. Strength in numbers is a real thing.
4. Invite Your Friends!
Even if everyone you know has already purchased your book, invite them to come visit you at the shop or bookstore or festival tent. It's always amazing to see a friendly face in a crowd, and it's even better if the event isn't crowded, to show the shopkeeper that you help draw people into their store.

5. Smile and Chat with Everyone
Be friendly with everyone who comes within shouting distance. I'm not saying drag them over to your table, but definitely smile and say hello, be approachable, draw them into a conversation and be friendly. Not everyone you talk to will buy your book, it's true. But when I was a Girl Scout leader, I always stressed to the girls that the number one reason people don't buy cookies is that NO ONE ASKED THEM TO BUY. Put away your phone and engage with people.

Plan to smile so much that your cheeks hurt by the end of the event, because no one is going to want to chat with you if you're frowning or busy on your phone. 
Be available. Be friendly. Be smiling.

SO that's it. See? Easy peasy. You can do it. Go forth and have an awesome book signing event.

Questions? Comments? Or do you have a TOP TIP you need to add? Go ahead  and share - I know I have a full summer of events lined up and I can take all the advice I can get!

Happy Writing - and Signing - to ALL!



  1. Fabulous advice!!!!!! Esp. inviting friends. When people who don't know who you are see you surrounded by other people, human nature tells them to go check you out!!.

  2. Great advice and thanks for sharing. I'm a coward when it comes to book signings, but your Blog has given me courage. Thank you.

    1. No need to be scared (although i am too) Readers are people. Just talk with them (not at them) Some will be friendly, some won't - just like in life. Oh wait, it is real life. Just remember to smile and have fun!


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