After you’ve written and published your first book, the work doesn’t stop there. Especially if you are a first-time author, you need to have a strategic marketing plan in place to start growing your reading audience. One of the ways many of our authors do that is through hosting and attending regular book-signing events. But if you’ve never attended a book signing, you might be wondering how to prepare yourself for your first event.
1—Communicate with the bookstore or venue for some guidelines.
Some bookstores may purchase the books ahead of time while others leave that part up to you. If you are expected to order your own books, make sure you have enough inventory for the event or order your books far enough ahead of time to be prepared for a successful signing event.
You’ll also want to find out how much time they are giving you in the bookstore. This will allow you to plan for any live readings or activities you want to create for your event. And if you’re a children’s book author, engaging in some creative activities with your readers can certainly help boost your book sales at the event.
2—Bring an assistant with you so you can focus on your readers.
Having an assistant will give you more time with your readers because it will allow you to focus on interacting with them. This is especially important if you are going to be responsible for your own book sales. If you are expected to interrupt a conversation with a reader to complete a book sale, it could be distracting for the other readers attending.
Before you arrive at the event, make sure your assistant understands what their role will be. That way, you won’t have to take any extra time to explain something after your event has started. This will help you put your entire focus on the readers rather than dealing with any logistic or technical issues that come up.
3—Plan ahead for the materials you need to bring to your event.
Of course, bringing enough books for your readers is one of the most important ways you need to prepare, but there are several more items to consider:
- Any banners, bulletin boards, or signs
- Business cards
- Branded bookmarks
- Cashbox for cash sales
- Card reader for credit card sales
- Extra pens or markers
- Any free gifts or bonuses you want to hand out
- Branded newsletters (if you have one)
- Information about your future events
- Flyer about your next book (if you have one coming out soon)
- Drinks and snacks for you and your assistant
You may feel a little nervous as your first book-signing event, but the more events you attend, the easier it will get. And the more successful events you have, the more you’ll get invited to other book signings. But here’s the most important thing to keep in mind: These events are designed to be fun and exciting—both for you and for your readers. Walk into your event with confidence and a positive attitude, and that will flow through to your readers and everyone involved with the event.
We’d love to hear about how your first book-signing event went. Comment with your experiences (and questions)—we’d love to celebrate your success with you!