“Books, business cards, bookmarks, stand, poster, yes, it all seems to be here.”
“Did you get the bricks?”
“Damn it, we forgot the bricks.”
Getting ready for a book signing is a exercise in planning and organization – plain and simple. Oh, and plan on nothing going the way you plan or organize.
However if you do plan you can at least minimize the chaos that will surely be trying to run you down.
I’ve developed an approach I use to get ready for the book signing events that I’ve found works well to make sure things run as smoothly as possible. I thought I’d share it and, please, comment or email and let me know if I’ve overlooked anything or if there are things that help your events run more smoothly.
The first thing I do for events is to maintain a pre-packed set up ready to go. This includes copies of my books that I monitor and restock to ensure ample copies on hand for future events.
I make sure I have an adequate stock of all of my promotional materials. I keep refills of pens for signing and I also keep a change for payments.
As to payments, make sure to take credit cards. One of the neatest things I have found is an app for the iPhone called SquareUp. The app lets you process credit cards on your iPhone.
I also have other assorted things in my brief case – assorted office supplies, paper, post it notes, calculator, scissors, and the like. Basically if I am at a signing event and need something that I don’t have then I get it after the signing and put it in the permanent kit.
I keep all of this organized in one area of my home office so it’s ready to go and I can avoid last minute, “Where is the darn widget?” moments. As well you never know when you may need to do an emergency signing.
Now you’ve got your stuff ready to go. What’s the next step?
What follows assumes you’ve already booked a signing. It’s a timeline of sorts to ease with planning and make your event all that much more enjoyable.
When you’re about 3-4 weeks out from the event, follow up with the venue and find out what set up they will offer. Make sure to discuss your specific needs – table, chairs, etc. You don’t want to be signing books sitting on the floor!
If you’ll be doing a reading find out if they’ll video it or if you need to arrange to do it. Don’t speak unless you record it for use on your website. Talk through the logistics. This shouldn’t take long, but do it in advance to avoid last minute problems.
About this same time start marketing. Market, market, market. I find it helps with events if you have a core group of people who will show up when you do your events as it will let the event host see that you have support which will cause word of mouth to kick in and will help with getting booked again. Make extensive use of social media.
About a week out confirm once again with the host and make sure that the times are firm and a meeting place is established. Make sure the event host has a handle on everything from their end.
The day before, check all of your material and supplies to make sure you have everything you need.
On the day of the event, pack early. Leave early and plan to arrive early. If you are driving, don’t speed. Nothing will ruin a book event like a speeding ticket.
One of the most crucial elements I have at my book signing events is an email sign up list. Even if people don’t buy your book, get their email and put them on your mailing list (You do have a mailing list, right?)
I also find it really helpful to have an assistant or someone else to help out. If you are busy talking to a person then the second person can answer questions and then introduce you to the new folks. Sometimes I take one of my dogs to events (Check with the venue in advance) people love dogs and my dog loves them. Helps to get people talking and if readers start talking they want to buy and read your book.
Set up smile and sell some books!
Oh yes, the bricks. When I do signings I have a tripod stand where I display an enlarged cover of my book with Microsoft tags for more information, jpegs of awards and a photo of myself. If the signing is outdoors the tripod and display tend to want to blow away in the wind. The bricks are to anchor the stand do I don’t look like I am running away from potential readers.
While you’re here, if you would like to read an excerpt from my book do that here. You can also buy your own copy – they are available through the website with free shipping. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to canine charities.