Kim Weiss Publishing Services

What makes for a successful booksigning event? (and is there such a thing)

March 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

What makes for a successful book signing event?  The easy two-part answer is: a) people show up; and b) people buy massive quantities of books. But, if you’ve been in the book business in any capacity be it author, publisher or promoter, you know how rare these two situations can be. So, what do you do, short of just gluing yourself to your computer screen praying to the bookselling gods and planting all the enticements you can conjure up on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and all the other virtual messenger services?

There’s no replacement for a personal touch. Meeting your public face to face and in the case of bookstore venues, this includes the people who hand sell your book. If you can meander your way around the electronic reading device area (which seems to be pushing the shelved books farther and farther into the perimeters of bookstores) talk to the staff. You know how it is; people tend to help people they like and if you make a good impression on the people selling your book, all the better. (beware: they’ll also remember you if you’re a fussy primadonna at your event).

Make the effort to include live appearances in your book campaign. If you can get in front of large audiences via workshops and seminars and can sell your book in the back of the room, go for it.  Include bookstores on your promotional calendar, too, because of the obvious reason to sell books, but some of these stores also report their sales to the NY Times, which, yes, still matters. Being a NY Times bestseller still carries some weight (no matter what Santorum says about their journalism. Sorry, had to say that)

Last night, Lisa McCourt, an award-winning children’s writer, now a Hay House author presented her newest book directed at grown-ups, Juicy Joy: 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self (which technically launches today) at Barnes & Noble in Boca Raton, FL. She must have had 75 people show up with at least half of them buying books.  There were two articles in the local papers, lots of blogs posts and social network bulletins, and with her hometown fan base in tow, all was well with the world. It was an exercise is everything going right.  Good advance publicity, good author track record, good store signage and if the microphone worked, a perfect night. Always a pro, Lisa didn’t require a mike and the lack of one actually added an element of intimacy. Warmth and smarts and a good book to boot. The formula was a publicist’s (mine) dream.

Tonight we head for the netherworlds of Coral Gables, deep in the heart of Miami country. Lisa’s presenting at the coveted Books & Books and our fingers are crossed that the Miami Herald article that featured her will draw some new Juicy Joy readers. I’ll report in and hopefully Books & Books will have something healthy to report about the signing to the grand book review kahunas in NY city.

Remember to plan your events 6-8 weeks in advance, and above all, don’t leave the store until every (unsold) book has your signature!! It’s highly doubtful that these will ever find their way back to the purgatory of the book business, the returns department.

Happy bookselling. Yes, you can be more than virtual. You can be a real human meeting other humans and turn actual pages as you read to them.

The next bestseller!

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