Last evening, I had my first solo book signing at Innisfree Bookshop in Meredith, NH. It was a great time and I sold 19 books. Best of all, I met and chatted with a lot of nice people visiting and enjoying the beautiful Lakes Region.
Now having experienced this (another first), I can pass on some book signing event advice to other authors:
- If you bring a camera, be sure to check the batteries beforehand. I didn’t do that and my batteries were dead. Luckily, Cathy, a good friend, came to visit me early and then braved the hectic Labor Day traffic to get me some AAA batteries. (Cathy, you’re an angel!)
- Have some water with you or at least some gum or mints. I thought I’d be okay without anything for a few hours but, within minutes, my mouth was dry as can be. Carol, another good friend, also came early and gave me some gum. (Thank you, Carol.) The book manager later brought me some water. Can’t always count on that, though.
- Take plenty of pictures. Plenty!!! Why? Because many of them might not come out. All except for two of mine were too blurry to share. Oh well…live and learn.
- Talk to the customers. This is very important. Some of them may try to sneak past you, but don’t let them. You don’t have to push your book, either. Just hand them a business card and a postcard (or another handout) with a synopsis of what your book is about and where they can find it. I gave a postcard to everyone I could and, more than once, a customer read it in another part of the store and then came back and purchased a copy. One of them bought two. It was awesome to witness this!
- The store manager told me that many authors just sit and read (or text, or web surf, etc.) throughout the whole event. Now how awful is that? That’s not a way to sell books or leave a good impression. (And not the case with me. The store manager commented that I was a great marketer. Surprised?)
- Be prepared for the unexpected. Did something unexpected happen to me? Yes! I couldn’t believe it. I arrived early to set up the table and, while doing so, a couple of relatives came by. I hadn’t seen either of them for years and didn’t even recognize them at first. They wanted several books. When I went to sign them, my hands were shaking so much I couldn’t even write. How embarrassing! With a lot of effort, sweat and patience, I managed to scratch out something on all of them, but it didn’t look like my regular handwriting. Luckily, the shaking stopped soon after. How can I prepare if this happens again? I don’t know, need suggestions. Anyone?
- Also be prepared to be exhausted when it’s over. I was! My husband and I enjoyed a nice casual dinner afterwards overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith. It was a beautiful evening and I even saw the rare full blue moon (which was red). It was beautiful. However, once we got back home, I was wiped out. I fell asleep before midnight and didn’t wake up until 10 am this morning. Can’t remember the last time I slept so long!
- Send a Thank You note soon after to the bookstore. It was nice of them to host you and they’ll probably ask you back again. Not to mention, they’re continuing to sell your books. (FYI – I plan on being at Innisfree again later this year for a local authors event. Exact date & time TBD.)
Wishing you all a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.