Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Signings on the Mind

No, I'm not having a book signing anytime soon. Maybe in a year (if we stretch it a bit...my book release is set for Fall of 2010). But a lot of my friends have been discussing the pros and cons of book signings, and it's got my mind gearing.

Here are some of my ideas for making a book signing a success:

1) Places to go.
This is the part that is the hardest. I could spend tons of money traveling the globe, but really, nobody knows me. Nobody's going to go out of their way to come to my book signing. I need to go places that are close by or that already have a steady flow of traffic. Off hand, close to my house, I can think of: two independent book stores, two big-chain bookstores, four Walmarts, ten grocery stores, and one Sam's Club. And that's just in a ten-mile radius.

Before you roll your eyes about going to Walmarts and grocery stores, let me tell you a story. One time in Utah, I was grocery shopping, and tucked in the back by the milk was John Canann and his then publicist, Narelle. John was talking to customers and selling products. He was so friendly, nice, and complimentary of me and my baby. I had never heard of the guy before. Really. But I bought--not one CD, or even two CDs--three CDs and tickets to his Christmas concert. Call me a sucker. But I met him in person and wanted to support him. I don't think I'm the only one who would react that way!

Now that I've got my local places to go, I just have to schedule. I could knock these places out in a month. And then I can start seeing about traveling just a few minutes over to the next town. Or taking it even bigger and going to another state. This could be my chance to visit my sister in Massachusetts! Or my college roommate in Washington!

2) Advertise.
It'll be great to be in places that have a pretty constant flow of people. But it won't hurt to bring more people to me! I'll get my website up and running and my business cards made. I also plan on having special bookmarks made (more like a brochure) that have the first chapter on them. It'll be up on my website, but some people might be too "busy" to check it out. I'll make it easy for them. I'll also list the dates and places for my book signings in this brochure (bookmark).

Obviously by including the first chapter, I'm hoping readers will be so smitten that they'll come flocking to meet the brilliant, local author. Right? I'll leave copies of these brochures with all of my scheduled book-signees so they can begin including them in grocery bags and books. I mean, they want the book signing to be a success, too!

3) Invite.
You can bet I'll be contacting everyone I know, everyone I've ever heard of. It's time now to expand my friend list on Facebook and Twitter. I expect all of my old high school friends and everyone from church to show up. My mom I'll probably bribe to hang out at the bookstore for the duration of the signing and act like an interested customer. Then again, that might not work. She looks too much like me.

4) Incentives.
At the book signing, I'll probably have some cheap trinket that I give away with every sale. Like, a key chain that lights up or something cool. I'll also have cookies to attract attention. Everyone will take a cookie and a brochure, even if they don't buy the book. And that's getting my name out there! I'll also probably have a drawing for something. Maybe a free autographed copy, but probably not. Because then no one will buy the book. They'll be so busy hoping to get a free one. I know! I could do a $10 gift certificate to the bookstore I'm doing the signing at! Can't lose that way. (But I would probably only do that if I sold a certain number of books, unless the bookstore donated the certificate.)

5) Follow-up
I got this from another blog: have a list where people can sign up for my email updates! That way, everyone who buys my signed first book gets to find out when my second book comes out! By this time they will be rabid fans and bring hoards of family and friends to my book signings!

As you can see, I've spent all morning thinking about this. I'm quite excited about it. Too bad it's so far away!

Sequel Stats:
today's goal: 38,410
actual: 38,573
tomorrow's goal: 40,573


JennyMac said...

SUCH great ideas. And when you do a book signing, put ATL on your map!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

ha! I will!

Kate said...

One thing's for sure: you're never short on energy.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

oh, Kate, you make me laugh! When I'm short on energy, I plan something that excites me. Like a book signing!

Vicky said...

Wow. Those are some pretty interesting ideas. I guess I never thought about the work that goes into such events. Lol. I'm too busy trying to find someone who actually wants to represent my novel :)

Karen Gowen said...

Great ideas, Tamara. you are definitely a marketer as well as a novelist!

Cindy said...

Tamara, those are some great ideas! I never would have thought of the grocery store, but it makes sense. I admit, most of my marketing ideas have to do with promoting on-line in some way. But I've definitely considered bookmarks, flyers, stuff with independent bookstores and libraries. Now, if only I can get enough courage to actually follow through with those ideas :D

Stephanie Faris said...

When I was active with our local RWA chapter, we had a ton of booksignings. We'd invite authors from other towns to come speak at our meeting and sign afterward at a bookstore. Through trial and error, we learned the most successful booksignings were at used bookstores. The owners are very warm and receptive and do everything it takes to get their regular customers to come in and support the author. Big bookstores ended up not doing a thing and being a bit snobby unless you were a huge name.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

used bookstores, huh? I didn't even think of trying them. I just figured they wouldn't want to stock my book.

David J. West said...

One of the bookstores I mentioned a few days ago is a huge used bookstore in Idaho Falls. Being a used bookstore you can't expect them to buy lots of your books BUT what they will do is allow you to do signings and all they want is a cut of sales-which coincidentally is a lot less than any of the new book stores. Book City in I.F. quoted me 3 dollars a book, I'm no mathmetician but thats better than 40% at regular stores and even after the signing they will keep a decent handful of books for people that come in later and word of mouth is what you want. Whenever I do the signing there if it does well, I would certainly go back again. I'm planning on hitting up more of the used book stores in the area and seeing if they are that agreeable too.
I think what motivated me to ask was I knew darn well that people that own used book shops love books, so of course they ought to be interested.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Great information, David! I'll have to add them to my list!

L.A. DeVaul said...

There is no shame in doing signings at Wal-marts and grocery stores. Go where the people are! I think I would buy a lot more books if they were more convenient rather than having to make a special trip to the bookstore. If I go to a bookstore I have to leave all day free, because I will get sucked in and want to stay. So I don't go that often. The grocery store on the other hand...

Emailman said...

Tamara, you should consider going to local schools to give a talk on writing. You will be welcomed with open arms, trust me. I was actually asked by my two local schools to come in to do a talk with the kids just on the strength of writing my novel. This is a great way to get local support. And get the local paper to give you a mention too. They love a local hero. If you are planning a local book signing, you will get a much better turn out if the local rag has run a story on you. Time it so it comes out a couple of weeks before the planned event if you can.

I hope this helps :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

excellent points, Kurt! I'll definitely add those ideas to mine!

Solvang Sherrie said...

It's good that you're thinking ahead. What about libraries? Or coffee houses and other places that people go to read?

I actually bought my first Bruce Hale book at a grocery store when we were visiting Hawaii, back in the day that he was self-publishing. It was right at the checkout :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I definitely plan on doing like an author's presentation or something at the local libraries. But can I actually sit down and sell books there? I mean, do people even bring money to the library, unless paying a fine?

anyone know?

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