Many newly published writers erroneously assume that book signings are something reserved for published authors who are signed by major publishers or vanity presses. If you’re operating under this assumption, you’re missing out on a wonderful marketing and networking opportunity. Book signings not only connect you with booksellers at your local, independent bookstores and big chain stores (think Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million), but they bring attention to your titles, putting a name and a face with your product. Book signings also help you establish your brand, engage with potential readers, and drive sales.
So, if you think book signings are not worth your time, I urge you to reconsider. Here are three reasons why these events should always be part of your book marketing efforts.
Establishing a relationship with the independent bookstore owners, in and around your community, is priceless when it comes to selling more books. Too many first-time, published writers are married to their online platforms and forget that old-fashioned, face-to-face selling is still a tried and true method for authors to sell more books. Booksellers who have had a chance to meet with writers and talk with them about their books are more likely to recommend those book to their customers.
Why are bookseller recommendations critical to the success of your book? Bookseller recommendations are trusted recommendations, lending credibility to your books and your talent.
Establish an Emotional Connection
Ask yourself these questions, “Why did I write this book? Why is it so important that I tell this story?”
You can write a compelling blurb for the jacket of your book, but readers are more convinced to buy when they personally experience the excitement you felt when you were writing. Book signings are not about bragging or even selling, but about introducing the characters in your novel, or, if you’ve written a non-fiction book, to demonstrate how passionate you are about the subject.
Even if a reader doesn’t make a purchase on the spot, they’ll walk away with a heightened sense of eagerness about your book. After attending a book signing event, I almost always see a surge in book sales up to a week following the event. Signings present the opportunity to make an emotional connection and to leave a lasting impression on a potential reader.
Form Relationships with Readers
Book signings also present unique opportunities to form mutual relationships with potential readers. Many writers believe a book signing is successful only if readers have walked away with copies of their books. While this is a sign of measurable success, the greater achievement during a book signing is to establish trust and the desire for a continual relationship with the reader.
At my book signings, I ask readers to sign up for my email list. Sometimes I offer an incentive like a chance to win a gift card to the bookseller in exchange for their information. Other times, I simply ask if they are interested in staying up to date on the latest promotions, releases, etc. Book signings give you the chance to grow your email list, a valuable tool that will help you engage with your readers and provide them with valuable content in the future.
Book Signing Challenge
As you develop your marketing plan for new or current titles, I encourage you to contact local bookstores in your community to collaborate and create book signing events. You don’t have to have a signing every week, but once a quarter or even once a month is a wonderful way to start connecting with your readers on an individual, personal basis.
Questions for You . . .
What are some of your tips for successful book signings? Share with us how your efforts have paid off in terms of marketing, sales, and readership.
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