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Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Signing Etiquette

It's embarrassing to have half a dozen book signings behind you before you're told, by a reader, no less, that you're signing the wrong page of the book.

Wrong page? You mean there's a right page?

Apparently, there is. I wish I'd known before hand. So, here it is, folks. You sign the TITLE PAGE. Although, according to Wikipedia, you can sign either the title page or the blank flyleaf at the beginning of the book. But of course I would never point that out to a reader, especially not one that is paying me to sign my book for them.

Here's some better advice: DON'T SIT DOWN.

I'm on a book tour right now, and I've done six book signings in the past three weeks. Of my sales, maybe two people approached my table and asked about my book. Everyone else, I approached. I stuck a bookmark in their hand. I didn't have to pitch myself or my book, though I was willing if people asked. The point being, I didn't have to convince them. Once I made people aware of me, they either wanted my book or they didn't.

Hint #1: If you're local, SAY SO. At first I didn't mention this in my introduction to people. But I found that people showed more interest when they realized I lived near them. So I started my intro with, "I'm a local author."

Hint #2: Emphasize that it's YOUR BOOK. You'd be surprised how many people just thought I was promoting a book of the month or something. So the rest of my sentence was, "I'm selling my book today."

My entire introduction goes like this: "I'm a local author and I"m selling copies of my book here today. Would you like a bookmark?" 90% of the people said yes. (You don't realize how many bookmarks you're giving away until suddenly you need to reorder more!) Of that 90%, probably 10% actually bought a book. But the rest walked away with a bookmark that tells them where they can find me and where they can buy my book, including my ebook. Success? I think so.

Hint #3: Offer CHOCOLATE. I have a little candy bowl that I carry around and offer to people along with my bookmark. It's a great ice-breaker.

The bottom line is, be on your feet. Greet people. Make sure they SEE you. Good luck!

13 comments:

Dominique said...

Nice post.

Honestly, I would have thought that signing the blank flyleaf was SOP. Didn't know people signed title pages. Good to know.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Awesome advice about the bookmark. I only knew about the title page because I've been a to booksigning at SCBWI conferences.

Rebecca Bradley said...

Great advice I will hold on to and hopefully one day will be able to use!

Aaron and Emily said...

The chocolate always works on me.

Elisa said...

I loved this post because I could imagine you in your element, doin your socializing thing! I'd love to hear the details of your experience... especially was it as financially fruitful as you hoped? and also... any funny/unique people you talked to?

Don said...

You are quite the expert at this. It was great to see you in action!

Abby said...

This is good to know (not that I'm there yet) but I could totally see myself doing the wrong thing! These are great hints! Glad you shared :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Dominique: I don't think there's really a standard way! whatever they want! :)

@Stine: interesting! so they actually teach that to you!

Elle Strauss said...

I didn't that--thanks for the great tips!

elizabeth mueller said...

Tamara, great post! I love this, thank you for sharing! I can't wait to do the same thing you are! <3

♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥
Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm still looking for an agent, book deal, and worldwide fame. Seriously, these are great tips. I will definitely get bookmarks, chocolate, and say I'm local and it's my book. Thank you! I'm sharing this on FB.

David J. West said...

I didn't know at my first signing either-so my first 40 books are on the blank flyleaf, I switched the very next day and everything ever after is on the title page.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@David yeah, i'm in the know now!

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