>The Trouble with Book Signings

>I’ve been thinking about bookstore appearances lately, and have started to schedule them for the publication of my book. It’s hard, though, especially with a book published by a small press. I suppose I’ve been looking for excuses NOT to do signings and readings at stores, but then I saw this post by mystery writer Austin Camacho. Good advice, I think.

Check out Book Signings — More Harm than Good?. (The blog appears have other good tips as well, so look around.)

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  1. >Thanks for this post–having my first book on the horizon, I've been thinking about this sort of thing a lot as well. It seems like pairing up with another writer, espec. a local, can be a huge help. Several bookstores that I've set dates with have even suggested it. Personally I am focusing a lot on reading series, since they often have more of a built-in audience, but on the other hand, I do keep hearing that it's good to form relationships with the indie bookstores. Anyway, this is all new to me as well and I imagine I'll likely have some revised opinions by the time it's all over.

  2. >Cliff, it looks like everything he's saying in that blog post is true to my experience, too. He's right about signing shelf-stock – and call around to the big box stores in your area and places you're going to be anyway, to see if you can sign stock.

    You already have a big mailing list of friends and colleagues; let them know when you're doing events!

    Indie book stores are great. These are the folks who hand-sell, who recommend. Sometimes the big box stores can't – those front table spaces are bought by the publishers! (Doesn't mean I don't go in and move a few copies of my own book from Memoir to New NonFiction… bad me?)

    Get on calendars at indies as soon as you have a pub date.

    And let me know and other authory friends who they can introduce you to in their necks of the woods.

    And drive a lot. Fly a lot. Take it upon yourself to get the word out there.

    This from someone who has a reading tomorrow night, and no telling if anyone will come. I've had fifty people at a reading, and I've had seven. No telling. Good luck!

  3. >Yeah, there are ways to do it and these are all good suggestions that I've heard and will implement to the extent I do store appearances. I like Laura's idea of series readings (like Gist Street in Pittsburgh). Signing stock is nice–if they have stock or are willing to order. With a small press, sometimes the stores won't touch it.

    And then there's Jonathan Galassi's point made in the recent P&W interview, which is that store sales aren't really where the future is. Should we be putting our efforts into marketing online?

  4. >One of my favorite author quotes: When asked if he ever had a book signing and nobody showed up, James Lee Burke replied, "I've never had to seek humility. It has always found me of its own accord."

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