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Booksigning Tips For Authors
by Patricia Fry

(Excerpted from Patricia Fry's latest book, How To Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less).

Once you're over the thrill of holding your latest published book in your hands, it's time to get down to the business of selling it. And a favorite promotional activity for most authors is the book signing.

Contrary to popular belief, people don't typically swarm authors at these events and purchase hundreds or thousands of copies of their books. An unknown author might sell just a handful of books if she's lucky. But, her success rate increases with her efforts. Here are a few dos and don'ts that will help make your next book signing more successful.

1: Don't wait for an invitation. Take the initiative and approach the managers of businesses related to your book topic and local bookstores. Offer to give a presentation or to sign books for their customers.

If the subject of your book lends itself to demonstrations, plan one for this event. Debbie Puente is the author of _Elegantly Easy Creme Brulee and Other Custard Desserts_. People attending her book signings are frequently treated to a demonstration and a sample. Teddy Colbert, author of _The Living Wreath_, often shares her expertise in making succulent wreaths, when she signs her book at nurseries and garden shops.

I sell more books at signings where I give presentations. I like to introduce myself and my book, give a brief overview and then I generally answer audience questions related to writing and publishing.

2 1/2 weeks before the event:

2: Send Press Releases with a photograph of yourself and/or your book cover to all newspapers within a forty-mile radius. Relate the particulars of the planned event, write a synopsis of your book and include your bio. Give your phone number. An editor may want to contact you for more information.

3: Make calls and send postcards and emails to friends, acquaintances, business associates and club affiliates inviting them to your signing. Post flyers on bulletin boards where you work and in public places. Have notices placed in appropriate company and club newsletters and bulletins.

10 days in advance of the event:

4: Find out if the store plans to design posters and flyers to advertise your signing. If not, do this yourself and deliver them to the store a week in advance of the event. Ask the manager to include a flyer with each purchase during the week prior to your event.

5: Offer to design a store display of your books.

One week in advance of the event:

6: Know ahead of time what to expect: Will you have a microphone? Podium? Table at which to sit for signing? Or will you have to arrange for these things yourself?

7: Make sure the store has enough books in stock.

The day of the event.

8: Dress to stand out in a crowd, but not so dramatically as to distract from your presentation.

9: Be prompt. Arriving a little early won't hurt and it will give you time to settle in.

10: Bring handouts--a relating article or a sample chapter, for example. When I'm signing my book, Quest For Truth, I hand out my article on Meditation Walking. When the event features The Mainland Luau, I give away a recipe.

11: Reach out to people, don't wait for them to come to you. Hand copies of your book to folks in the audience or who visit your signing table. If you're sitting all alone, walk around the store and strike up a conversation with customers. Hand a copy of your book to them. Someone is more apt to purchase something they've held in their hands.

12: Keep track of the number of books you autograph in case there is a discrepancy.

After the event:

13: Send a note of thanks to the store manager and staff.

14: Attend other signings and note what works and what doesn't.

15: Arrange more book signings, presentations and demonstrations at bookstores and/or specialty stores. Consider a combined signing with other authors. This should be someone whose book compliments your own, but doesn't compete with it. A book of animal-related poems and a novel about a dog might entice the same buyers. You could promote your book on writing thank you notes along with one featuring how to make paper products. Another compatible combination might be a book on marketing web site businesses and one featuring how to gear up for a job in technology.

16: Realize that signings and presentations will rarely exceed your expectations and hardly ever meet your highest goals. But anytime you are given the opportunity for this sort of free publicity, you are making headway in your promotional effort.

Remember, if you always think exposure instead of sales, you are never disappointed. And frequent exposure leads to sales.

© Copyright 2005, Patricia Fry

Patricia Fry is a career writer, author, speaker and editorial/publishing consultant. She is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) www.spawn.org and the author of 27 books, including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. Visit her informative blog daily, www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.

New book of cat stories
Patricia Fry announces her latest book: Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats www.matilijapress.com/catscapades.html.

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