So, I had my first book signing about a month ago. I’d always said I would never do a book signing, mainly because I’m socially awkward and was terrified of the mere idea.
But then Barnes & Noble reached out to me after seeing the article on me in the newspaper (which I have a post all about here). And the second I read that email, I knew I had to do it. Over the past few months after being published, I’ve realized that the vast majority of being an author isn’t writing. It’s selling your writing.
It’s reaching out to readers, marketers, book bloggers.
It’s being social in a world that primarily consists of those who hate being social.
And being a successful author is my dream, so I immediately responded to them that I’d do it.
For the next few weeks, I scoured other author’s blogs, and articles on Google giving me ideas on what to do. I had no idea. All I knew was that on July 15th, I had to show up at Barnes & Noble and sign strangers’ copies of my book.
Looking back on it, can I say my book signing was perfect? No, of course not.
But now that it’s over, there are some things I’m very glad I did, things I wish would’ve done better, and things I simply wish I would’ve done altogether.
And I’ve merged those into some tips listed below!
1. Dress in What Makes You Comfortable
Is this me saying that you should wear your PJs? No. But don’t dress in something that you’ll constantly be focused on, like a dress with sleeves that annoy you or a shirt that can stick to your stomach weird. Wear something that won’t add to your worries, because you’ll already have enough of those.
I wore a nice tank top that semi-matched the colors of my book cover, and my favorite black skinny jeans and Converse. I nearly almost wore some heeled booties, but then I decided against it and am so glad I did. I felt dressed up but approachable, and in clothes I felt myself in.
And that’s the golden mix.
2. Develop Your Ten-Second Sell
This is something I didn’t do and am still struggling to develop. But it’s so, so crucial, especially if you’re like me and get uncomfortable talking about your at-times-steamy romance book to other people.
Figure out the best way to sum up and market your book in ten seconds, ’cause that’s pretty much all it will take. It sounds horrifyingly daunting, condensing the work you gave your life to in just ten seconds. But people have short attention spans nowadays. You need to adapt.
3. Be Early
Don’t show up a mere ten minutes before the signing is due to start. It’s unprofessional looking, and it gives you no time to get settled in.
My best friend and I arrived thirty minutes before, mainly because the guy from the original newspaper article wanted to interview me again (which you can read here). But thank God we had that reason. Having that extra time before helped quell whatever nerves possible, gave me time to mentally prepare, and also gave one of the workers the opportunity to kindly gift us free Starbucks.
4. Give People Every Reason to Approach You
This, out of everything, is the most important. Hands down.
Now, if you’re a well-established author with a similar fan-base, then maybe this tip won’t apply. But for me and my little debut writing career, I needed everything possible to lure people to my table. Like the witch from Hansel & Gretel, I knew the best way of doing that: food.
My best friend and I stayed up late and woke up early to make two dozen cookies for the table, decorating them with icing and romance-themed extras. They weren’t the cutest cookies, as Betty Crocker we are not, but they tasted damn delicious.
And, it gave unsure people a reason to come to the table.
Not only that, but my mom and I also created some bookmarks to hand out. It had a cutesy romance book quote on the front that I came up with, and all my social links on the back. My mom, being the awesome person she is, also made little tassels for each one.
So not only did people think I was incredibly nice for giving them a gift (which, you know, I was 🙂 ), but it also gave my name the opportunity to flash at people if the person was using it in a public setting.
5. Be Yourself
I know, I know….this tip sounds totally cheesy. And maybe it is, I don’t know.
As I mentioned before, I was terrified of the signing. I hate talking to new people, I hate when people give me their attention, and I hate trying to sell something. So, basically, this two-hour event was my worst nightmare.
And so instead of faking composure and risking appearing rigid or too formal, I indulged in how nervous I was. I let people know how grateful I was for them coming over so I wasn’t alone at my table looking like a loser. I think it made people smile, and realize that I wasn’t some cocky author. I was just a nervous girl with a passion, and trying my hardest to make that my career.
Should I have been a little bit more composed? Probably. But I’m proud of how I put myself forward because it was my true self. And that’s what I want people to know about me.
6. Be Thankful
This ties in with the last tip, but it’s so important I also made it into its own. Thank people for coming up to you, it’s that simple. Tell them how much it means to you, and how awesome or beautiful they are. I may have been over-the-top when it came to this, but it’s how I felt. I couldn’t believe that some people made it a priority to come buy my book and have me sign it, and I told them that.
Not only will they probably give you a compliment in return (which is always nice), they’ll also remember you as a gracious, humble person. And isn’t that what you want?
7. Take Alllllll the Pictures
You’re going to want to remember this day. It’s a big deal. A BIG FREAKING DEAL. And even if you hate taking pictures as much as I do, just do it.
You’ll thank yourself later.
Not only did my mom take every picture possible, but I was also lucky enough to have an editor from the newspaper there to capture memories. I have some below, and if you’d like to see more or the article written about the signing, the link is again right here.
And that’s it from me!
If you have any other tips I didn’t put here, please comment with them down below so I can take notes for any future signings. It’d be much appreciated!