With a little thought and pre-planning, book-signing events can be a valuable piece of your marketing pie. Like everything else related to being an author, you can't just waltz into a book-signing event, carrying only your pen and a few extra copies of your baby (that's your book), and expect it to go well. Uh-uh. Not to worry! Here's the checklist for the ten things you want in your book-signing kit.
As a marketing opportunity, your book-signing event will be more effective if it makes the press. Media coverage creates visibility: more people will recognize your name and the title of your book. Media coverage also breeds more media coverage: a story in a local newspaper may lead to a television interview, for instance. (I know this because, as a television reporter back in the day, one great way to come up with my daily story was to scour the local, regional, and weekly papers to find little nuggets I might be able to expand or explore from a new perspective.)
Your #booksigning event will be more effective if it gets #mediacoverage. Ensure a #presskit is part of your book-signing kit #authormarketing #iartg #asmsg
Unfortunately, book signings tend to be busy events and you won’t have time for in-depth interviews with journalists or book bloggers. That’s why you need a press kit that you can give them at the event. This way, they get all the basic information about you and your book. They then simply need to follow up with you if they have any more questions.
Put together all the information in a neat folder or large envelope. Also include a USB stick with digital copies of everything, including both hi-res and web-friendly images of you and your book cover.
About two or three weeks before the event, invite journalists and book bloggers. Focus on those in the local area but don’t forget to invite the national press too. Coordinate with the venue to find out who they’ve invited and make a list of everyone who has confirmed that they will attend. This will help you determine how many press kits to prepare. Bring a few extras, just in case.
Sounds too simple, doesn't it? Don’t assume that the venue will provide pens for your book-signing event. Bring your own, with several back-ups. Test the pens beforehand to make sure that they work. You may also want to consider choosing pens that are comfortable to use: your hand will get tired from all that writing! (Think positive!)
Trying to handle every aspect of your book signing on your own can be very stressful. Sometimes impossible. This is especially true if you also have to handle the book sales at the event. Bring an assistant who can do the running around, bring you something to drink, and handle the sales, so you can focus on connecting with your readers.
Have some business cards printed with an image of your book cover and your contact details. You can hand these to people who might want you to speak at one of their events, for example.
You will hopefully meet people who could be valuable contacts for future engagements. When you hand them your business card, take down their contact details too so you can follow up with them.
Ideally, lots of people will come to your event wanting to buy copies of your book. Even if the venue is a bookstore, you’ll need extra copies in case all the stock sells out.
Zach, Zack and Zac will be very disappointed if you get the spelling of their name wrong. You can ask an assistant to let your readers write their names on a post-it or sticky note and attach it to their copy of your book. This way, you only need to refer to the post-it instead of having to go through the endless ritual of, “How do you spell that?”
If your book-signing event isn’t held at a retail location, you may have to handle the book sales yourself. Have a cashbox containing at least twice the change you think you’ll need. Also bring a receipt book.
Your readers will really appreciate it if you’re willing to let them take selfies with you. Bear in mind that these pictures will most likely end up on their social media profiles, so you want to look presentable. Of course you don’t need to get the help of a professional hairstylist and make-up artist to get you camera ready if you don’t want to. But, at least make sure you don’t have any spinach stuck in your teeth!
You’ll most likely be asked to kick off the book signing with a few remarks. Prepare an engaging talk that will charm your audience. Choose a short excerpt from the book and include that. Keep it short, though: you want to have enough time to sign everyone’s copy of your book.
This may sound like a lot of work. However, it will be time and effort well spent. The venue, your readers, your assistant, and the press will be impressed! Expect more interviews, more coverage, more invitations to speak at other events, more sales. It will help you achieve better results overall.
Learn more about creating your nonfiction book marketing strategy here
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Boni is co-founder of Ingenium Books. She's author of One Million Readers: The Definitive Strategy to a Nonfiction Book Marketing Strategy that Saves Time, Money, and Sells More Books. Boni is an author coach, editor, and ghostwriter. As an award-winning former Canadian television reporter, news anchor, producer, and talk show host, working under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray (it's a long story), Boni covered politics, government, the economy, health, First Nations, and crime. She won several Canadian Association of Broadcaster (CAB) awards and a Jack Webster Award for best documentary. Boni also held senior management roles in government, leading teams responsible for editorial, issues management, media relations, and strategic communications planning. Boni is co-author of Rock Your Business: 26 Essential Lessons to Start, Run, and Grow Your New Business From the Ground Up and, like any good author, has several books in progress.
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