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Getting the Most Out of Book-signings

This post was inspired by Marja McGraw’s (Monday, October 10, 2016) blog post… ‘Is a Lemon Always a Lemon?’ 

Despite the dancing phrasing of the title, which initially...and admittedly eluded me, the topic of McGraw’s post proved to be common fair. Host or attend enough book-signings and  surely you’ll encounter an uncomfortable figure (or many) sitting behind booths, hungry-eyed and ice-cold hands, looking woefully underappreciated because few, if anyone is interested in their book(s). Been there and seen it, even if (knocking on all kinds of wood) this isn’t a personal association.

There are many strategies to consider to get the most out of public & private book-signings.

First and foremost, not much out-scores conditioning the mind to focus more on having fun as opposed to thinking about selling books or making money. A relaxed, upbeat optimistic attitude attracts interest. Passion for what we do serves like icing on a cake too.

Similar to hosting birthday, anniversary, or any other holiday party, hosting local book parties is a good way to start out building an audience. Instead of registering at a nationwide retail store for birthday, wedding, bridal/baby shower & etc gifts, try creating a unique book registry gift list.

Introducing book themes between the food and chit-chat at private book parties ups the fun. Book title, main character and/or story raffles are a few book theme ideas worth trying.

When out at public book-signings, go get the fun…opposed to waiting on the fun to arrive at our table and chair. The only 'wasted' boring outings I’ve ever attended were the ones where I WAS THE BORE.

Stick with making public appearances at book affairs where the foot traffic is heavy… i.e., bookstores, community events or popular book fairs.

Investing not only in our book, but in readers and reading in general, makes good public relations sense, and not without mention, grows readers. In current times there is plenty room in the literature industry for new readers.

For this reason, never ever leave a book event without ensuring someone has a copy of our book…particularly if the title of the book is not Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code. FYI. Steeply discounting or giving away books is an investment. It goes with the story.

Operating in any industry, we simply must not only know why we’re doing what we do, and be passionate about what we do, but we must know our stuff… in this case know our literary industry stuff.

A deep appreciation of historical events (history) is vitally important… as in reading about the LIVES of trailblazers who’ve come before us… analyzing what others invested in the industry are saying…and practicing… and for goodness sake, running them numbers to understand reader motivations and habits. That’s what prompted my mission to influence reading. After tallying up the number of books the average reader purchases (full price) to (fully) consume (read cover-to-cover) in a year, multiplied by the number of readers purchasing books at full price (whether read or unread), divided by the number of best-selling books published in a given year, tendered a sobering enough message to keep me optimistically happy as a lark at every book-signing I’ve ever attended.

Focusing on the premise of readers first and flocks following is a mission that benefits the entire industry.


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