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.
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.