For me, doing book readings and signings has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my writing career. Here are three tips to ensure your reading and signing events are successful
1. You have to bring the people
If you expect bookstores to attract an audience to your signing event, you’ll likely be disappointed. You must take responsibility for the turnout. Use your social media and email resources to advertise your event. I’ve had the most success using Facebook and my email list to get folks to turn out. It’s been my experience that newspaper advertising doesn’t work. In case you haven’t heard, nobody reads newspapers any more! For self-published authors, if you haven’t already made a connection with someone, they’re not likely to attend your event from just reading about it in the news.
2. Make your signings extraordinary
In our ever-connected world, we’re bombarded constantly with people trying to get our attention. To help your book signing stand out, try something unique. Here are some examples of my guerilla marketing inspired events:
- Signing at Papa Joe’s Barbershop (get a free book with your haircut)
- Signing at Chandler Tire and Auto (get a coupon for a discounted oil-change with the purchase of a book)
- Beer and Cheese Whiz book signing at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills, California (unique appetizers for attendees – not that my books are cheesy, well, maybe they are…)
3. Know your audience
My best signing events have taken place in Arizona and in Southern California. Why? In Arizona, I have an enthusiastic audience because I’ve taught and been a part of the local community for many years. I have a similar audience in Southern California because it’s the setting for my books and the residents identify with the places and experiences I write about.
Similarly, my good friend Richard Rios, author of “Songs from the Barrio,” a collection of stories about growing up in a poor Hispanic community near Stockton,California, has done countless readings at California museums, cultural events and celebrations, which has helped his writing to become an important part of the Hispanic Studies genre.
Best of luck with your self-published book project and feel free to contact me with any questions.