Tag Archives: Signing

Book Signing Tips: Before Your Book is Published

Book Signing TipsBook Signing Tips

So you’ve written a book? Excellent! Now is when the real work begins. I’ve put together this post to give you some effective and doable book signing tips. And it all begins before your book is published.

Your new job – as you may have already discovered – is as book promoter. You’ll be coordinating interviews, writing guest blogs, and doing a host of other activities designed to get the word out about your new book.

And the best way to create a buzz and get people excited about your book? A good old-fashioned book signing. Imagine a crowd of eager fans all waiting for you to appear, read a bit from your latest bestseller, and answer questions. It’s the scene that’s filled many would-be authors’ daydreams, and now that you have a book, it can become your reality.

All it takes is a little planning and organization.

Here’s the thing: When your reader steps up to your table to buy a copy of your book, you want to ensure she has the absolute best first impression you can give her. That means top-quality writing, editing, and printing.

Sure, you can do it all yourself. Amazon and others make it easy and cost-effective to write and print a book, but will it portray the image you want? Or will it scream “amateur”?

So before you even think about scheduling your first signing event, let’s make sure your book is ready for the big leagues.

Book Signing Tips: Writing and Editing Your Book

You very likely already have your book completed, and as you may have discovered, it can be nearly impossible to edit your own work. You’re simply too close to it to be objective.

Instead, it’s a good idea to put your book to the test by:

  • Sending it out to a select list of beta-readers for feedback
  • Hiring a professional editor to suggest changes to content flow
  • Hiring a professional proofreader to edit for grammar and punctuation

Here’s a tip: no one person will be good at all three jobs. Creating a book worthy of a rock-star book signing is truly a group effort, and well worth the time and cost as well. Remember, your book will very often be the first impression someone has of you. If it’s riddled with spelling errors (or even one or two, for that matter) they will automatically think less of your expertise.

Make sure your book-signing event creates the very best impression you can by starting off with a professionally written and edited book. Then find your “Beta” readers.

Choose five to ten friends and colleagues to read through your book and offer constructive feedback. You want to avoid those who think everything you do is wonderful (so mom can’t be a beta reader) and instead ask those who you trust to offer real, actionable advice.

Next, find and interview editors and proofreaders.

While you’re waiting for your beta readers to respond with their thoughts, it’s time to begin looking for your editor and proofreader. The best way to find these people is to contact friends and colleagues whose books you’ve read and enjoyed, and ask them for referrals.

Book Signing Tips: You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

It’s true. Sometimes the only chance you get to make the sale is in the three seconds a visitor takes to glance at your book’s cover. Make sure it gives the right impression with:

  • Easy-to-read fonts
  • Eye-catching (not headache-inducing) colors
  • Complementary graphics that don’t distract from the title

Keep in mind that bold colors and large fonts are a popular choice for better readability at any size from thumbnails on Amazon to poster-size event decorations.

For printed books, the cover is even more important. Remember, your readers will be holding this book in their hands for days, maybe even weeks. You want it to look as good as possible, because that’s what will make YOU look good.

Not only that, but your book’s cover needs to be easily reproduced in large format for posters, banners and other print materials you’ll use to decorate your signing table.

Don’t be afraid to outsource the things you are not good at, such as cover creation and sales copy, so that you can instead concentrate on writing the best book you can.

Now it’s time to research cover designs.

Before you hire a designer, it’s a good idea to know what you’re really looking for in a cover. Start by finding several books whose covers you like. These can be in any niche, so don’t be afraid to look on the fiction, self-help, and even reference shelves. The key is that they be eye catching and well-branded.

You’ll want to give this list to your designer, so he or she can see what appeals to you. Be as specific as possible, and include things like “I love the font, but the background image makes it difficult to read” or “The colors really make it stand out on the shelf.”

I certainly hope these book signing tips are helpful to you. You can see that the process begins long before your book is in print and ready for you to sign at your local library, book store, or other event. And if you’d like recommendations for people whom I have used for editing, proofreading, cover design, and formatting, please leave a comment below and I will reach out to you personally.

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How to Host a Book Signing Event

book signing eventWhen you think of a book signing, do you picture a bespectacled author sitting at a table in the back of a bookstore, patiently waiting for customers to notice her?

That’s what a lot of us think of when we consider a signing event, and while that used to be the norm, today’s book signings look very different. Your event can be anything you want it to be, because you have complete control (unless your publisher is footing the bill, in which case, follow their lead). Here are some book signing event ideas.

Your event can be:

  • Casual or formal – you set the tone
  • Indoors or out – imagine a book about healthy living with a reading in the local park
  • Structured or not – free form readings and Q&A sessions can be more inviting than a strictly scheduled event

As you can see, your book signing can be whatever you choose to make of it. Bookstores are just one option, but there are many others, depending on where your market likes to hang out and the specific topic of your book.

For example, if you’ve written a book about your life as a pro golfer, book-signing events on a driving range or in the clubhouse are a natural fit. If your subject is how to build an online business and live the laptop lifestyle, consider a beachside signing instead.

Here’s something else to consider: where is your audience? Ideally, you’ll want to host your book signing where it’s convenient and comfortable for them. Some popular options include:

  • Book stores
  • Libraries
  • Boutique markets
  • Industry conferences
  • Festivals

You may find that you have better luck booking events in off-the-wall locations. The reason is that big bookstores often have deals with publishers in which they get paid to host events. If you’re not willing to pay – and the cost can be steep – you likely won’t get large booksellers to host you. There are two ways around this:

  1. Opt for smaller venues. Approach independent book stores instead, since they’re less likely to have prior agreements with big publishing houses.
  2. Speak directly to the store manager and make it clear that you want to do an impromptu event, not a formal signing. You won’t get the advanced press you might otherwise get, but you’ll make up for it in walk-in traffic.

Either way, the bookstore must be able to order copies of your book, so be sure you’re working with a publisher that allows that option. Some vanity presses will tell you that book stores can purchase stock, but the truth is the ordering process is so cumbersome and the return policy so bad that bookstore owners and managers will not order from them. In that case, you can offer to bring your own stock if the bookstore will allow it. Self-publishing makes the most sense, where you order directly from the fulfillment house in the number of copies you wish to receive.

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