This post was written in response to The Insecure Writers Support Group, which posts every first Wednesday of every month.
I have attended book signings, but I’ve never really thought about the organization. I just turned up, enjoyed myself, chatted to the author, bought the book, had the book signed, and left.
Now it’s my turn. My first novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, was published on Kindle in May 2014. I finally published it in paperback in July, 2015. One of the advantages of having a print version is that people can hold it in their hands and turn the pages, and authors can do book signing events!
Sounds like a great idea, but I’m an independent author, so I have to set it up myself, but I have no idea how to do it, because I’ve never organized such an event!
I’ve been asking other authors and looking it up on other book blogs, but right now I’m a bundle of nerves just thinking about it.
This is my To Do List, and this is how it’s going, so far.
It won’t happen until 27th of October, so any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
I’ll tell you how it goes next month!
1.Where is it going to happen?
First I chose the venue and booked it. It’s going to take place in a book shop called La República de Las Letras, in the centre of town (Córdoba, Spain), which also has wine and coffee, and tables for people to sit at and chat or just have a drink. The owner was very enthusiastic, although 90% of the books she sells are in Spanish, there’s an unexplored market for books in English.
2. When is it taking place?
On the Tuesday 27th of October at 8.30 in the evening. I chose the 27th October because I wanted it to take place as near as possible to Halloween, as the novel is set on and around All Hallows. It is not a horror story, but there are enough gothic elements to warrant this date as significant for the context of the novel. 8.30 may seem late in the rest of the world, but in Spain, some people are finishing work, others are out for a walk or shopping, and for many the second part of the day begins! It will probably go on until 10.00-10.30. Of course that means there must be a glass of wine offered at the event. Hopefully that will lure even more people!
3. What type of event will it be?
Just signing or a talk/presentation, too? I’ve decided I’d like it to be a ‘Meet the Author’ type of activity. I’ll be giving a short talk before the book signing, and read some excerpts, so readers know what it’s about. I’ll also answer questions. I’ve seen it done like this before, and it works well, as long as it’s not too long. I’m aiming for 20-30 minutes, and then mingling with everyone and a glass of wine.
4. Who to invite?
I live in Spain, so I’m at a disadvantage regarding the availability of potential readers in my area!
The English-speaking community in Cordoba isn’t very large, but the good thing is the majority are English teachers and (hopefully) readers. I will need to write invitations to the Private English Language schools in the city, the English Department at the Faculty, and the Official Language School. I’ll also be inviting many Spanish, teachers of English. I’m hoping for anything between 10 and 50 people.
5. How will the event be promoted/advertised in the media?
I’ll be using social media, such as Twitter, my Blog, and Facebook. There will be a Facebook event promoting it on my author page and the Book Shop page. I’ll post an event on Goodreads. I’m also planning to send a press release to the local paper and radio station, and of course, word of mouth. I’ll be telling everyone I know to tell everyone they know in the area!
I’m also preparing some merchandising. I’m having professional-looking book markers to give away (designed by my cover artist), I’m also making some fridge magnets with the book’s cover, and some little purse mirrors with my cover on the back.
5. How should I dress?
I’m not sure yet. The only thing I’m sure about is that I want to feel comfortable and that I’ll be wearing a dress with lots of black, and black shoes. I’m thinking of this dress. What do you think?
6. What else should I bring, other than my books? Apart from the merchandising products mentioned earlier and 40 books, I’ll need a good pen to sign, water, tissues, and I may prepare a handout, I’m not sure yet.
7. Where will I sit while I’m speaking and what should I do when I’m not?
I’ll have to discuss this with the shop owner. It’s a large shop with several different spaces. There’s even a piano. I’m thinking of asking a former student to play the piano while people stroll in and settle down, and after the short talk. While we’re all mingling!
8. Where should I sign the book and what should I write on the dedication?
I’ll sign on the page where the title is. I’ll ask the person’s name to personalize it, and write something like: For Jenny, hoping you’ll enjoy this journey into Victorian England. Best (if I don’t know them very well) Love (if they’re friends) and my signature, which I’ve designed and practiced, because Luccia Gray is my pen name!
8. Where will the books to be bought be placed?
No idea. I’ll have to discuss it with the owner. I suppose they buy it at the counter and I sign it at the table where I’ve been speaking.
9. What about photographs?
I’d like to have lots of photos of the event for my social media, and to keep as a reminder of my first book-signing event, but I can’t be taking the photos myself, so I need to find a professional or reliable person. I’m fortunate enough to have a brother-in-law who is an amateur photographer, so I’ve asked him to come along and do the job!
10. Anything else?
I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Suggestions are welcome.
While was on the internet looking for information, I found this webpage with lots of tips and ideas: http://www.writing-world.com/promotion/promo01.shtml
Have you ever done an author or book-signing event? How did it go?
Read some of the other posts on this month’s Insecure Writers Support Group, or write one yourself! Read or sign up here!