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How to Set Up Book Signings…Strategically

Your book writing coach
Your book writing coach

Someone recently asked me the best way to set up book signings–go in person, call, or write a letter or press release and follow up with a call?

Whoa. I told her I’d first step back and look at the big picture. Book signings have their place but they can also be the largest waste of time. I remember a great signing at Barnes and Noble in Warwick where the manager had end-capped our book (put it on a separate display table) and we sold 25 books before the signing ever took place–YAY.

And I’ve had signings where I sold four books, two of which were to my mom (It was Newport in the Fall and a perfect beach day). No one but my mom and a neighbor came into the store that day.

Kathy LeMay signing books at a corporate event in TX
Kathy LeMay signing books at a corporate event in TX

A few strategic in-person book signings can provide some word of mouth traction and good local publicity, if you do it right. One key would be to couple the signings with a great press release that offers tips for a media friendly topic related to your book (rather than making the press release about the book itself).

Consider also a virtual book tour or blog tour where you can reach many people, over a longer period of time, and never have to leave your home.

Now, a few well-chosen venues can work well. If it’s easy, go in person. You’ll make a personal connection and maybe even get ideas together how to make the event most successful. Go for quality over quantity–someone who will help get people to the event or a place with lots of foot traffic.

You may also want to do what Kathy LeMay has done for The Generosity Plan. She offers her services as a keynote speaker to companies who want to offer extra value to their clients and customers (such as financial services companies) and to large nonprofits like the “Y” and philanthropic foundations.

If you’re approaching organizations, like the YWCA or a corporation, a letter with phone call follow up can work well. The main thing is to be strategic about every event you choose. How many people can you reach in each event? Can you garner publicity from the event? Will it be well promoted? Does it have viral word-of-mouth potential?

You can find out more about Kathy’s complete book event strategy in my guest blog post at marketingtipsforauthors.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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Comments

  1. Conner Moore MD says

    Excellent advice. If I do a powerpoint talk about my pediatric career memoir, I can often sell 30-40 books, if a signing where I’m known 15-20, if signing in unknown territory – iffy. Though sometimes you can make lemonade. Recently my signing produced sparse sales at a doctor’s convention in a famous Maine coastal resort. The weather was dreadful. My favorite tea house was not open yet. My wife was wondering why we drove three hours for the event. I wandered into s downtown book store and asked about policy on stocking new local authors. The male clerk had no idea what I was talking about -probably my fault. Finally s young lady lady came from the back of the store, wrote a name on the store business card and said ” contact this lady.” I did, sent her my book, she liked it, and book is now in all four local chain stores

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