Allen J Johnston

Author of The Divine Series

The official website of Allen J Johnston, the author of The Divine Series.

HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BOOK SIGNING

First, let me answer the question of what is considered a successful book signing.  As soon as you sign one book and put it in someones hands, you have had a successful book signing.  Yes, we all want them lined  up down the block and around the corner, but unfortunately that is rarely the case for 99% of book signings.  You can expect to show up and set up your books with no one even realizing who you are or what you are doing....unless you take a few steps to help make your signing something special.  I can say I have been lucky enough to have people waiting for me, but for the most part, I don't start seeing interest until I am there and ready to go.  So, what will help?  Well, let me give you some tips that I use.  I have a 30X40 poster made up with pictures of my book and some tidbits to entice readers to want to read my story.  If you work with your book store and find that they are willing to post a notice of your book signing a few weeks out, they will probably let you put additional advertising up to help boost the signing.  The next tip is posting on social media.  This can be expensive, but it can be done successfully.  I use Facebook the day before my signing and the day of the signing.  I make certain to target the city I am in or you will just be wasting your money.  When you write your post, write it as if you are someone reporting about this amazing author coming to town.  If you post it as yourself, people will tune it out.  It's human nature for us to ignore self-promoters.  We tend to get more excited when it looks like it is being reported.

Okay, so lets jump to the signing.  You are all set up and ready for people to line up, but there is no one.  This is almost every authors experience unless you have lots of money to throw at advertising.  It's okay.  So what should the 99% of us do?  For me, I have tried many techniques to see what works best.  If you expect to set up your table and sit back all relaxed, waiting, you may be waiting for a long time.  It may work, but what I have really found to be successful is getting out from behind the table and talking to people.  It will blow your mind when you introduce yourself as an author and see people look at you as if seeing you for the first time.  Most people will become interested and will be eager to talk with you and even pick up your book.  DON'T BE PUSHY!!!  You are introducing yourself as an author, and you are just saying hi.  Most of us feel uncomfortable approaching a stranger and trying to find what to say.  Here is how it goes for me.

Awesome Author:  How are you doing today?
Soon-to-be reader:  Blank look or maybe "Good."  Either is okay.  You just want their attention.  If they won't look at you, leave them alone.
Awesome  Author:  I am doing a book signing today and just wanted to say hello.
Soon-to-be reader: "Oh.  Hello."  Most likely, they will be polite and pay attention while you are talking to them.  I have found that 90% will happily engage me in conversation.
Awesome Author:  So what genre do you like to read?
Soon-to-be reader:  "I prefer FANTASY."
(Well, I did walk over to the area of the store that has my genre.)
Awesome Author:  "Oh, I love that too.  In fact, it is what I write.  Feel free to take a look at my book.  I am over there signing books."  I would say 25% will follow me back and half of those will gladly take a signed copy home.

You DO NOT want to be pushy.  People see authors as mini celebrities.  You don't want to be reduced to a pushy salesman.  Say hello to people as they come in the store.  Smile, be polite and relax.  Pretend you are talking to a friend.  I know people get nervous, but once you get in a groove, it's fun.  Try it.

One last tip:  Be strategic about when you do a book signing.  If there is one day of the year where you want to do a book signing, it is the Saturday before Christmas.  The stores are LOADED with last minute shoppers looking for the perfect gift.  What is more unique and special than a personalized book straight from the author?  Otherwise, ask the manager or PR person their opinion.

Please leave a comment and give your opinion so we can all help each other be successful.  Thanks for reading and I would love to hear how your book signing goes.  Cheers.

Allen J Johnston
The Divine Apprentice
The Divine Path
The Divine Unleashed
Next Release Oct 27, 2014