11 Tips for Book Signings and Trade Shows

Do You Use Your Author Voice
at Book Signings?

This past weekend, several authors signed books at the American Library Association’s MidWinter event. They also participated in a Facebook Live interview and were featured in the catalog that was created and will be sent out this week to the 300 plus names collected plus they will get the librarian names and emails to do their own follow-upFor those who participate, it was a “sell-out” of books. Several did not bring enough. Gobbled up by the attendees, it was what I considered a good event. And, we crawled home each night to get ready for the next day, sometimes too tired to eat.

The final day, we gave away all our books and the lucky winner was the Lewis-Palmer Elementary School in Monument, Colorado. They were so thrilled to get them—we are already talking about doing a “special day” for the kiddos with the children’s authors who were represented in our booth.

Here’s what you want to keep in mind for any type of book signing:

  1. Don’t bring too little. It’s always better to have a large stash of books.

  2. SPEAK UP … several of our authors had soft voices. It’s easy to be drowned out when there’s a lot of action/noise going on.
  3. Many event centers prohibit carts to bring in boxes. Not to worry, grab a wheelie type of suitcase—I got 100 books in my large one and they disappeared in less than 90 minutes. And, when it was time to pack up, the empty suitcase with wheels was quite welcomed load up and wheel out as we left the final day. Don’t let union rules stop you.
  4. Books are marketing. When you sell them; when you give them away. Always, think marketing.
  5. When you hand over the signed book, ask the recipient if he or she would post an “honest” review on Amazon and Goodreads.
  6. For our event, not only will I be sending out all names and emails to the author participants, the online catalog created, but I will be sending a personal email as well thanking those who stopped by our booth (several hundred), send them the online catalog and remind them to post a review … and I noted on each email I gathered which book they got.
  7. If you are in a convention center, comfort is important—as in your feet. I stood eight to ten hours each day talking to those who stopped at our booth. Crocs saved me. And dress in layers—it can heat up; then cool down quickly.
  8. If you are in an event where there is a trade show—walk it. You never know what you will discover … and who you will meet that could be a supporter, a buyer … even a sponsor.
  9. Read the blog I did on book signings here
  10. Gimmicks work. Susan Planck is the author of Piping Hot–her memoir of life on the road with her bagpipes. Talk about a magnet. I asked her to bring hers. Puffing up, she played for a few minutes … and was heard throughout … and people came! And her books disappeared.
  11. Pre-sign your books … yes, yes and YES. When you have the possibility of signing 20, 50 or 100+ books in a fairly short period of time (less than an hour)–pre-sign with a greeting of some sort (if you choose) and your name. Make it generic and tied to your them. Then, if the individual wants a name added, it’s quick and you can have a short conversation.

    My two bits for today …

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2018, the dates are June 23-25.  Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow.

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact me.