On the heels of my previous post about finding your motivation to write, this update probably seems like it’s coming a little bit late. I have plenty of excuses though! Since last month I’ve served as a beta reader for two books and one article as well as organized two bookstore events for my client.
On the personal level, I absolutely love attending book signings. There’s nothing quite like the experience of meeting an author and having them sign something for you in person. That’s why I always encourage my clients to set up a few events at the local level every year. Conventions and book festivals can be really great but the personal shopping experience can’t be beat. We are lucky enough to work in an art friendly Southern city where a few local bookstores have managed to hang on successfully.
While book signings are a ton of fun, the business side of things can be a little bit sticky. First, you need to connect with bookstores in your area and see which of them would like to host your event. This process can be a bit harder than it at first seems, particularly since major bookstores turn away independent authors and many local bookstores carry a mix of new and used stock.
Speaking of stock,if you’re self published you have to order books. Kate uses CreateSpace, which allows you to print your books one at a time as you need them. Choosing the number of books to have on hand can be difficult so it it best to speak with the bookstore owners/managers about their clientele’s buying habits.
Once you’ve scheduled your event, negotiated consignment rates (or negotiated with the owners to run your own cash drawer), and ordered stock, it’s time to promote your event. Launch parties in particular seem to be a better draw than just a standard book signing but either way, this is a good time to evaluate your advertising budget and get the word out in as many places as possible. In the case of the most recent event, we had the information posted on the bookstore website, the author’s website, most social media platforms, on signs around town, and took out a small ad in the newspaper.
As a final touch, we also had bookmarks printed to give to customers with their purchase and ran a raffle for free copies of Kate’s newest book.Once you’ve taken all of the necessary steps, the event should go smoothly. Bookstore customers are fiercely loyal and are happy to support local authors, particularly if they are also supporting their favorite store. At the end of the event, it’s not always about the money you’ve made but rather the connections.