Congratulations on the launch of your first book! It's an exciting time for you, and I want to celebrate with you. I've compiled a list of tips to prepare you for your first book signing that will make it a fun and memorable experience.
Know how many people are attending
You've done the hard work and finished your book, so you're ready for a book signing. It's so exciting! But before you get too excited, consider how many people you can realistically handle at one time. Book signings are often held in public places like libraries or bookstores, which means that there may be a lot of other people there as well. Ask the host how many people are usually in attendance, which will help you to get a rough estimate on how many books you should bring. You don't want to run out of books too early but then you also don't want to order too many copies.
If you're hosting the book signing then you will have more control of who is attending the event. It's best to have your attendees sign up online through your website or an event landing page. Doing this will allow you to not go overboard when ordering your books. Keep in mind on how many people you can handle at the event because at most book signing, people want to engage with the author.
Sign your books ahead of time
Now that you know how many people will attend or the actual customers that purchased the book ahead of time. You can sign the books in the comfort of your home prior to the event. Signing your books ahead of time is a great way to save yourself some work. If you don’t already have a printer, there are plenty of printers in your local area that can help you out. Be sure to give them enough time to complete the job so that it will be ready when you need it! Most printers need at least a 30-day notice.
While signing your books, make sure you have:
A pen that works (and preferably one that doesn't smear)
General Phrase or Quote to add to each book
Enough Space to add the customer name... "To Jane" if they purchase in person (You don't want your general message taking up the entire page, then when someone purchases your book, you don't space to add their name)
Enough copies for sale at the signing event
Setup giveaways to capture emails
As you plan for your book signing, one of the most important things you can do is capture email addresses. Now, don't capture emails if you don't to email anyone anytime soon!
Email marketing has been proven to be one of the most successful ways to grow your audience and build relationships with readers. Use a service like MailChimp, Constant Contact or AWeber to collect email addresses from attendees at the event.
Offer something that people might actually want! For example: if you have a children's book about saving endangered species, give away a stuffed animal from that same species. This way they get something they love while also being introduced to your book!
Here's how it will work:
Setup a simple landing using one of the suggestions listed above
The attendee will scan the QRCode that you have placed on your table, which will take them directly to the landing page.
They will enter their name and email (at this point, they've subscribed to your email list after hitting submit)
Let them know when they will be notified about the giveaway.
Bring a Trusted Friend
This was the biggest mistake I made at my first book signing event, I didn't have anyone there assisting me in accepting payments. Signing books and also accepting payments is a HUGE NoNo! It will take you away from customer interaction and it could also distract you when signing their name. You don't want to add the wrong letter or sign the wrong name. When signing books, you get one once to sign, not two...well that's if you want to be tacky and use white out or scratch out letters.
Determine the type of payments you're accepting and create a QRCode for those options. As people stand in line they can easily make those purchases before making it up to you. This is where the trusted friend comes in, they will ensure everyone has paid before coming to you to get a sign copy and the trusted friend will also accept the cash payments. This way you are focused only on signing books, interacting with customers and taking pictures with them (have someone there taking photos as well).
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
When you are starting out, you will feel uncomfortable. You want to do everything right and make a good impression. That’s natural—but it can also hold you back from making some big moves that could help your career grow.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don't be afraid of trying new things - especially when those things don't go as planned! If your goal is just getting published, then even if things don't go well at first, there will always be another opportunity around the corner (and plenty more after that). There's no need in wasting time being discouraged because something didn't work out exactly according how we wanted it too; instead use our failures as lessons learned rather than excuses not to try again next time around."
I hope these tips will help you prepare for your first book signing. Remember you don't need to be a social media expert or have an extensive network to promote your events—just be yourself! And don’t forget about the giveaways mentioned earlier. They can be a great way to capture emails from potential readers who might not yet know about your upcoming event.