I mentioned in my last post that I was headed for a booksigning with my CPs. But first I spoke at a writers conference, where I did another booksigning. What a contrast between the two. At the writers conference, I sat a table with 8 authors and people trickled by. I signed maybe 3 books and had a few people stop me in the halls from time to time to get a book signed. At the booksigning table with me was a New York Times bestselling author. She had the most traffic, but I'd estimate she signed about 8-10 books. Not a spectacular turnout.
That same weekend a friend of mine had a book launch in a well-known bookstore in a major city. The three authors offered a workshop followed by a reading and signing. Attendance was decent, but she sold only two books.
Several great readings were followed by a champagne toast (note the mini-champagne bottles--with the book title--they had for each author) and the booksigning. The standing room only crowd enjoyed refreshments and lined up to get authors' autographs.
Other than at BEA, where all the books are free, this was the first time I've ever been at a booksigning where it was non-stop signing during the whole event. Absolutely amazing!
More photos of the event can be found at Cate Masters's and Don Peschel's blogs. As Cate said, it was definitely "A Launch to Remember."
So what made the difference? Both events received a similar amount of publicity. And approximately the same number of people attended each event. Actually, the writers conference had several hundred attendees, compared to slightly more than one hundred at the library event, but almost every person at the library bought a book. Book price wasn't an issue. At the writers conference, all my books were discounted. Yet library goers paid full cover price. Sure, they wanted to support their community library, as all proceeds from the anthology benefitted the library. But I believe a big part of the success of the library event had to do with the organizers.
Mega-thanks go to the library staff and to Ann
Elia Stewart, the anthology editor. Their enthusiasm inspired the crowds.
So what can authors learn from this to make their own booksignings go well? First, find enthusiastic backers. One of my friends has a group of influencers who get the word out whenever she launches a new novel. This group reads advance copies, then blogs and tweets and posts reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book-related sites. Influencers gather people to attend her book tour events. This author was listed as one of her publisher's top selling authors, and she's with a major publisher.
In addition to that, if you're launching in your community, let everyone know. Most people like to support hometown authors, and newspapers and TV stations will often do features on the event. One Canadian author I know had a radio station approach her about doing ads and an interview about her book launch. They gave her a deal she couldn't pass up, and she sold 125+ books at her first booklaunch.
Think about ways to attract crowds and media attention. A Gothic Tea Party made for another successful launch. Themed events that tie into your book are always good draws.
Think outside the box. What's your book about? Try an non-traditional venue or connect with a group that's related to your book's theme. Consider donating some of the proceeds to a related charity. The charity will often help promote the event, and people who support that cause will learn about your book. And you'll be doing your part for something you believe in.
Good luck with those events! And if you have any tips for making booksignings shine, be sure to leave comments below. We can all help each other so we don't end up like this:
For more tips on successful booksignings, check out Writing World.com