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Book signings - hints and tips

I'm joined on the blog today by Amy Cook, author of the Rabids series (, who recently ran a book signing with awesome book topiary, and a nice buzz to it, so I thought I'd get some tips on running one.

Book signings; the big events that can leave any author weak in the knees with excitement and terror all in one. I held a signing last night for the release of my book, “Instinct Ascending Rabids Book 2”. Here are a few things that I learned along the way. 


#1. Network, network, network.  Weeks before the signing, you need to start sending out all those different pleas for people to come. Thankfully I had a few friends that were heading that end of matters for me. They printed up snazzy little ‘save the date’ cards featuring my book cover, with info about the event itself. They then placed these at the library and other high traffic areas in town. We pulled in more networking help by having it announced in newsletters of local organizations for the town, and on the local antenna station.  And of course I announced it several times on my social media pages. Blurbs in your local newspaper are a great idea, and some even get their event announced on the radio. I wasn’t quite that adventurous this time around. Maybe next signing…

#2. Make sure you have enough time and items to prepare for the event. I failed miserably in this aspect. I didn’t account for payday gaps and the amount of time it takes for my books to reach me. As it was, I had a very sad meager amount of books for sale at the actual event. I made sure to warn people to purchase their books ahead of time on my social media sites etc, but I still sold out of all the books I had there, and was left with many people wanting. To offset this issue as well as I could, I printed up small papers to let people know where they could find my books, and let them know that amazon offered them for less than list price. It helped people to feel better about the situation, knowing they could get it for cheaper on amazon than they could at my signing. Also, I printed up cards with the full book cover (image and book description) and I signed these with my handy silver marker to give them, so that they didn’t walk away without a signature because of my lack of books. 

The Event

Tip #1. Deodorant is your friend…make sure you remember to wear it.  I did remember, thankfully, but for a terrifying moment as the guests started arriving, I couldn’t remember if I had. 

Tip #2. My food brings all the readers to the yard. Light refreshments are always a good idea when you are trying to bring in a crowd, for any event. We served delicious little tortilla roll ups, fondue style candied apples, fruit tarts, and many other delicious items that were easy and inexpensive to prepare for a large amount of people. Make sure you announce that light refreshments will be served at the event, and you’re sure to have people show up!

Tip #3. Simplicity. When decorating for book signings, going simple is your best bet for retaining sanity and your wallets health. I bought a few disposable table cloths for the tables, made four book topiaries as centerpieces (This wonderful, but time consuming, little gem. I printed out a poster sized image of both of my book covers and posted those at my signing table near the door. I put some book garland along the table between the two posters as space filler, and laid my books out on the table along with a few items I needed to bring immediately to the attention of the guests upon their arrival such as the sign in book and trivia papers etc. 

Tip #4. Freebies and Games.  In addition to having goodies to eat, make sure you have goodies to give away. As incentive for prompt appearance to the two hour event, I offered bookmarks to the first seventeen arrivals. These bookmarks were fun little marks I had printed up with my name and the name of my book. At the top was a hole punch with a chain and sword at the end. (To match a particular scene in my book.) Everyone loved them!I also made up a paper of trivia questions from my first book. The people who got the most answers correct won a few door prizes.  (Some of the book topiaries centerpieces. A few items of jewelry I made to match characters of my books. Sword keychains, etc.) Along with these, I had a few papers out on the table with instructions stating they should write down any questions they had for me, and a gentle reminder to keep their questions spoiler free, for anyone who might not have read them yet. I ended up just going around and personally answering guest’s questions, rather than speaking them out loud, as the event was pretty free and easy with guests arriving and leaving at their pleasure.

Tip#4. Pens, pens galore! If you will be doing trivia quizzes and questions, please remember to bring LOTS of pens! Another item I forgot. I had to run around scrounging up pens. When at a signing, the last thing you want to do is run around begging for pens, or having people share. Nope. Just don’t go there, bring pens! 

Tip #5. Have your own book for signing. I had one of my own proof copies there, with a sign encouraging all of my guests to sign the book for me. This was a hit activity with my guests, and it left me with a wonderful keepsake memory of the event. 

Tip #6. Remember to enjoy the event. It is so easy to get swept up in nerves. But try to remember that these people are here because they enjoy your work, or are interested in it. They want to get to know you and have fun schmoozing with the author. Relax and enjoy your night. After all that hard work of writing and publishing, you earned it!

Happy Reading, Writing, and Signing
Amy Cook