Book signings are a great initial boost for book selling success that comes from the author who has initiative, motivation, persistence, and a dream. Do you want to sell books? If you do, then hosting a signing is a great place to start so you can get your name and your book's title out in the public eye.
The biggest hurdle when selling books is getting people to find your books. If you sit at home and only have your book online on a website, then you are seriously limiting your book sales. Sure, if your website is formatted and optimized correctly people will find your website through search engines, but the process can take a very a long time and it can take months and even years before there is a huge buzz for your books.
The key to marketing success is fast exposure, and what better exposure is available to you than book signings? At a book signing, potential customers see you and you book in person; you get to interface with your potential readers, telling them a little bit about your story while showing your excitement and establishing a relationship with them all in a few minutes time.
People are also excited when they get to meet the author of a book and they are usually people who love to read books. Tapping into this type of customer base can breed lifetime customers for future books.
True success from book signings comes from just one sale of your book while conducting a signing. Sure, you want to sell a hundred books, but it's not always about selling a book - it's about getting your name and title out to the general public so you can start the referral based marketing engine. Your goal is to get people talking about you and your book to their friends and family.
Sure, putting yourself out there in public is scary. In fact, from my own research and estimates, about 78 percent of new and experienced authors refuse to do book signings because of the fear of rejection. Of those who actually do participate in book signings, 90 percent of them never do one again because of failure to sell more than ten books.
Of my research, here are some of the reasons they didn't have success with book signings:
1. They did everything on their own without any experienced help. If you've never had a book signing before, don't set up and arrange book signings by yourself.
You need someone, a mentor or coach, who has done one before to help guide you through the process and to help you set everything up. Once you go through the process with someone who is experienced, the next one will be a piece of cake.
2. They didn't market the event prior to the event happening. Failing to put up fliers, publish press releases in the local papers, set up advertising banners, or get information placed on a store billboard sign is the worst move you can make.
If you are hosting book signings in a mall, ask some stores around the mall if you can place a flier in their window near the door. Get the word out that you are having a book signing today at such and such store. If people don't know you are there, they won't go out of their way and try to meet you. It's not every day someone gets to meet an author in person.
3. They didn't tell their friends or family to come out and support them during the signing. As an author, your friends and family are your biggest fans and customers. Having them stop by your table brightens your day, takes the edge off, and can make a few sales if you haven't already sold your books to them. Also, tell them to bring their friends and family. They can be your best marketing tools as well.
4. They didn't have marketing tools available (gifts or other handouts) to hand out to potential customers who stopped by their table. If you only have you, your book, a table and a chair, you will never have successful book signings.
You need to have a big poster on a tripod near your table, plenty of good quality markers or pens, printed book marks with your book information on them (including a website address), business cards, brochures, and other similar handouts. People like free things, especially book marks, magnets, key chains, and pens. Give them something to remember you by.
5. They didn't converse with the people who walked by their table. Sitting at your table like a bump on a log does not encourage people to come to your table. People sense your personality through your non-verbal actions.
I recommend getting the most uncomfortable chair you can find and use it at your book signings. My point: stand! Stand to the side of your table where you can partially obstruct the flow of traffic. Say hi to everyone followed immediately by a leading question. "What's your favorite book?" "Who is your favorite author?" "What types of books do you like to read?" Get them talking and asking you questions at your book signings.
6. Nobody bought any of their books. Not selling any books at a book signing isn't fun. This is usually because of many of the other factors above. It can also just happen. This can also be caused by your book's topic and genre.
As long as you are handing out marketing materials, you are having a success signing. You are getting the word out about your book. But, if you don't sell any books at one book signing, you have the inventory for the next one. You just have to figure out what went wrong and make some changes during the next signing.
7. They did the book signing by themselves. Never do a book signing by yourself until you know what you are doing and are comfortable with it on your own. This is especially important for new authors. This is why you want to network with other authors in your local area and plan book signings with them. If anything, you will keep each other company during slow times. This also breaks the fear you feel when you are at it alone.
In order to have successful book signings, you must organize everything well in advance. Team up with other local authors and see if you can do a joint signing. Keep handout gifts available at all times in order to market your book whenever and wherever you can.
Another helpful thing you can do if you've never experienced a book signing is to go to a few author's signings in your area. Take notes on what they use for marketing, ask them questions, and let them know you are an author - maybe they will actually want to help you. They may also want to network with you and exchange secrets. Make sure you have a business card to hand to them.
Signing success is not always measured by how many books you sell; it's measured by how much exposure you get and how many networks you tap into during that event. Don't be afraid to use this valuable marketing tool toward your advantage. It will benefit you greatly.
Hosting book signings at your home or in someone else's home is the greatest way to initially market your books once you publish them, or they can give your book a marketing boost when sales slump. A book signing party is easier than a traditional book signing because it is in a familiar environment and doesn't cost you as much of your profits to set up.
As an author, you need to get a buzz going over your book so people will be interested in buying your book once it is published. And after it is published, it is crucial to get those sales rolling in so you can use your profits to leverage more sales through more costly advertising.
Your immediate network consisting of your family and friends are your most valuable customers, especially when you are first starting out. They already know you and naturally want to keep up with what you are doing. By keeping them first in your thoughts, they will be more willing to buy your book and tell people about it than perfect strangers who purchase your books.
By hosting a book signing party just before or after the release of your book, you can start the marketing wheels turning a lot faster than any other marketing means out there. There's not much to it. It's not a formal event and there is absolutely no pressure. Well, besides the negativity you have to deal with from people who don't believe in your dreams, but even they will go to bat for you if you ask them.
A book signing party came to my mind while doing an in-home meeting with a network marketing company. Then I saw an Avon party at a friend's home and it hit me. Why can't an author have a similar party to advertise their product, their books. You can, very easily in fact.
Hosting book signings at home is just like hosting any other kind of party, except you need to set a theme of the party toward that of your book. It should inspire people to purchase your book, or at least pass on the word about your book. You want your signing to last at least an hour to make it worth everyone's while, otherwise it may just be a waste of their time. Two hours is even better.
There are so many things you can do when throwing an in-home book signing (and it doesn't have to be at your home - it can be at a friend or family member's home too). But first you need to get people to the party.
You should formally invite your guests. This can be done with post cards offline, a Facebook event online, email online, or some other kind of handout that invites them to the party and reminds them about the date.
Don't forget to create a plan for the entire event from start to finish. Any at-home event, no matter what it is, requires some kind of start to finish plan or itinerary for the evening. A good host keeps things moving from the time the guest enters the door until the time they leave. Don't just wing it. You want order and professionalism. Let your guests know you mean business but also that you want them to have fun.
Don't forget to have plenty of books on-hand to provide two for everyone at your party. A lot of times, a friend or family member will want to buy two books - one for them and one for their parent or friend. Sometimes even more. You don't want to be short books, but you also don't want too many books. My rule of thumb is to have 2 books for every RSVP guest. Anything left over at the end of a party is fuel for the next party. If people want more books, they can order them directly through you.
Most of all, remember to have fun. Hosting book signings can be very exciting and rewarding. It is also something someone has probably never been to and they will remember it.
Here's a special guide to help when hosting book a book signing party that will help you keep organized and tells you everything you need in order to have a great party.
Here is some more information regarding book signings you can use to ensure you have the best book signing possible!