What to Bring to a Book Signing

Guest Post by Brittany D Oldroyd

The dreaded book signing. It's a necessity for the up and coming author. In such a competitive world, there is really only one way to succeed. You have to connect with people. We live in a world where you can connect with total strangers by the click of a button. That means that, to be noticed at all, you're probably going to have to step out of your comfort zone. Even if you have no idea what you're doing, you've got to put yourself out there.

Book signings are a great way to do that. They don't cost you too much and they can be a great marketing tool. If you're planning a signing, however, there are a few things that are an absolute must to bring along with you.

1. Promotional Items

You do not want to forget these. Bookmarks, postcards, and posters are all great things to bring along. Everyone loves getting free stuff and people may take a bookmark simply because they can. Put your information on the bookmark and you might have sold another book without actually selling one at the event. Postcards, with a synopsis and a website, are wonderful promotional tools. When I go to sign my book, I give a postcard to every person who passes my table. Posters are fun, too. I bring along several posters of the book cover to every event. Readers love having a poster of their favorite books. Sign it and they can hang it up on their wall to remember the event.

2. Books

This one should be pretty obvious. You are, after all, there to sell books. However, if you don't sell any, still consider the event a success. Merely getting word out there makes a difference. Most authors only sell a few copies at an event but you should always have extra on hand. I usually bring along a box of books (about 50 copies) and leave most of them in a car. That way, if you run out, you can just run out to the car and get some more.

3. "Author Appearance" Sign

You'd be surprised by how many people will assume you work for the venue. At my first event, I had several people ask me where the bathroom was or how self-serve frozen yogurt works. It helps to have a sign to let people know what you're doing. I had a poster made specifically for events. Get a large poster with a picture of you on it that reads "author appearance" or "book signing."

4. Card Reader

Having a card reader for the Square app or your PayPal account is an invaluable resource. Sometimes people won't have any cash on them. You're going to want a way to let them pay with Visa or MasterCard. Most smart phones or tablets have this ability. Just make sure you get the app set up three days in advance so it has time to connect your account to your bank account.

5. Friends

Friends and family are awesome for events. Venues love it when you bring along people (not to mention potential customers). Having a few familiar faces can really boost your confidence too.

6. Notebook

I carry a notebook to signings for a few reasons. For one thing, you need to keep track of how many books you sell. Also, you always ask for spelling. You can ask people to spell out their name in your notebook. You don't ever want to misspell a customer's name.

7. A Memorable Signature

You can, of course, just sign your name on the book. There's nothing wrong with that. However, try to personalize it if you have the time. Ask the buyer what who and how they want it to be signed. If they don't care, you can always just thank them for coming and write your name. I always sign my books with a phrase related to the book: "find the hero in you." However, be careful. Readers might complain if you start signing your book differently than you had before.

8. Pens

Obviously, you are going to want to bring along a few pens. I use fine tip Sharpie markers at my signings. Make sure you bring extras.

If you remember to take these things to your signing, you should be just fine. Good luck!

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Anonymous said...

Great list of things to bring to a book signing.

Karen Cioffi said...

I agree, Susanne. The author did a great job.