Douglas Gardham’s Book Signing Tips: Part Three

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iUniverse author Douglas Gardham, who has penned The Actor and The Drive In, here kindly gives us more spot-on, practical information for authors doing book signings. Thanks so much, Douglas!

gardhamYour day has arrived. Feeling a little anxious, a little insecure. Questioning your sanity. Those are all good signs that you’re not taking your book event lightly. Remember it takes guts to do what you’re about to take on. Is your book worth it? You better believe it is! You’ll likely be in a bookstore that sells titles from hundreds if not thousands of authors, and you’re the only author who is there in person. What a privilege. Your stage is set.

You’re joining the few that are willing.

gardhamLet’s get a few of the givens out of the way. From my last post:

  • Books
  • Book cover poster
  • Pens
  • Bio and book description card (8-1/2”x11”)
  • Business cards
  • Bookmarks

Now before I forget: “Promote your Event”. Any exposure you can get on TV, radio, or in print will help. The store will no doubt do some promotion. I provide small signs for posting. And last but not least take advantage of social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — whatever works for you. Promote. Promote. Promote.

Now, back to your event. I dress business casual. Not too dressy but not too casual either.

gardhamIn the store have the poster of your book cover beside or behind the signing table. Keep nothing but your books and your small bio/book description card on the table. No clutter—coffee cups, water, food or anything else.

When someone stops and wants to know more about your book, be ready with your 20-second “elevator” speech. Practice it until its part of you. Be respectful to your future readers’ time. Be prepared. Be present. Have your business cards ready for those who stop to talk about your book. Give away a bookmark when a reader buys your book.

I find the word “hello” is a magic icebreaker for those passing by. What takes place after that is often magical but be warned—often nothing happens at all. Find an approach you’re comfortable with. What works for one person may be a disaster for someone else.

Also, what I learned after several book events was to stand up. No one wants to interrupt someone sitting down. I know the authors we see are usually sitting down. It makes sense that an author sits to write. But unless you have a line-up in front of you with expectant readers waiting for their chance to see you (hint: you’re famous), stand up. Standing makes you more visible. It gets you in the game. You’re more attentive and aware. Remember that it’s a privilege to be where you are — in a bookstore. Anything representing a “careless” posture is disrespectful of potential readers and those working in the store.

Most of all though, have fun with it.

That’s all for now. See you in the bookstore.

Please click here for Part One and Part Two of Doug’s excellent blogs on book signings. Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.


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