Book signings can be hit or miss. They often seem to involve lots of waiting for the first few hours and then people: (a) realize you are not a store employee, (b) realize you are not a serial killer, (c) realize that, as the sign says, you are an author and all the books in front of you are yours.
You might think I’m being factitious but I have often had people:
- ask me where to find books in the store;
- ask me if the store carries certain titles;
- ask me if the books on the table are mine/were written by me.
This is all despite signs that name me as a local author there for a signing.
The serial killer comment is more of how people go out of their way to avoid eye contact and walk as far from me as possible. I wonder if that’s because I have a mean look in my eyes? 🙂
Once those things are out of the way, then people will stop and talk to you, ask you about your books and even buy a few. That’s the fun part. It is slightly odd to me though, that people don’t read your signs and can’t seem to figure out why you, the author, are there at all. At least, not at first.
I try to engage people. Get them interested and have a conversation with them. I try to get the kids involved too. I tell small stories about the books. Getting the kids involved is important since many/most of my books are intended for a YA/MG audience.
I know some authors who have much better success at signings than I. They sell dozens of books every time they show up. I’m happy with a dozen. Whether a few or several, every new sale is a potential new reader. The difference in sales may be a function of the actual books themselves or it could be the approach. I haven’t cracked that particular walnut (yet) but I continue to work at it.
Some of the things I have tried thus far are:
- business cards (have my website, contact information, picture of a book/books;
- bookmarks (have my website, contact information, picture of book/books/ISBN’s of books;
- a Batman candy bowl with suckers;
- stand posters of my books (behind the table); and
- puzzle sheets.
Some of those items have generated some interest (the business cards are asked for most often), others have caused the teenagers to come by (candy bowl) without any further interest and the stand posters are important to relay who I am. I continue to try new things beyond those already mentioned (for example, I am in the process of creating zombie Scout badges for sale).
I’ve also found signings over the summer when kids are out of school and families are traveling are not well attended. Those I will be avoiding this year.
If you would like to come and see me at my first signing of the year, you can find me in Calgary at the Crowfoot Chapters between the hours of 1000 – 1430 on Saturday March 10th.