Nervous Author Wants to Sign Book and needs Advice


Has anyone set up their own book signing, let’s say at a coffee house, a library, or another place that doesn’t immediately come to my mind? I would love as an indie author to promote my book in person at least once to see if I can get over my timidness.

I talked tonight with another indie author and he suggested that I set up a book signing complete with 4 or 5 author friends. I just happen to have 3 other local writers that I might coax into joining me.

Are you able to help me come up with more ideas for such an event? Any ideas would be so appreciated. Believe me, I have already been to Pinterest and my mind is buzzing with ideas, but share your own with me!

In fact, if you are local to the Lexington Kentucky area, there would be a spot for you to join us.

Please let me know. I look forward to meeting more indie authors and learning how you promote in person and off of the Internet.

For a nice change of pace let’s log out of Facebook and Twitter and hit the streets of Lexington Kentucky.

I have a set of questions that perhaps someone could assist me with:

  1. How many books should you bring with you?
  2. Should you also bring bookmarks, business cards, pens, and other swag?
  3. Does swag help in brand retention?
  4. How far ahead should you plan an event?
  5. If you have a book almost ready to publish should you promote it while selling your last book?
  6. Would you suggest a mailing list sign up sheet?

Thank you in advance, don’t be shy. This is what leads me to this blog post. I want to be able to face new readers with confidence. Won’t you help me figure this out, or even better join me?

24 thoughts on “Nervous Author Wants to Sign Book and needs Advice

  1. I don’t know how valid my opinion is as I’ve never been to a book signing (although I’d love too!). As a reader, I think book swag is cool, especially if it’s exclusive items to that signing. And I don’t see anything wrong with promoting your upcoming book too, maybe even giving out an extract from that book. I think the fact that you’ve taken the time to meet your readers in person is good enough – go for it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am working on being brave and daring. Like a pilot of old. Funny I took a flying lesson, but this has me terrified. But I am pushing myself in all new directions. 🙂 Your strength shines through to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Advance publicity is key in setting up a successful event. In the music industry, an in store appearance would be booked months in advance, with advance copies of the CD and merchandising swag sent out with a press kit to all regional store managers in cooperation with radio spots, record spins in coordination with requisite magazine and newspaper coverage. Everything would be coordinated to build up as enormous buzz as possible prior to the event. I think similar tactics in combination with effective use of digital social media tools would see maximum positive results in translating to the indie book business!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is such excellent information. I will plan well in advance. It will give me a chance to secure a location, gather my swag, and perhaps publish that next book so I can have two on the offering block. Thank you for that insight! 🙂 You are the best!


      1. Accomplishing any of that shouldn’t be difficult for someone possessing your organizational ability! Remember though, you have to put on a show. Believe it or not, we are in show business!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I think it would be more fun with a group so I am going to see if I can get J Schlenker, Laurel Heidtman, and Anne Carmichael to join in the fun. Yes, I did, just call them out! 🙂 If you were closer, I would invite you too. If you like to travel over a state or two, then consider yourself invited.


  3. This sounds like a great idea! I’ve set up and signed books at a few events, and it’s always interesting who you meet – other authors as well as readers. I’ve never organised one myself yet, but in my experience:

    1) You don’t need all that many books. Lots of people will chat, but far fewer will buy from you on the day. I have (at this point) six different titles on offer that can be read in any order, so I find that two or three of each (with my own personal copies to display with a “sold out” label as a last resort) is enough. It’s unlikely that I’ll sell out of one particular title. If you’ve got fewer titles on offer, you might need more copies of each, especially if they form a series and new readers more or less have to start with the first.

    2) Business cards (or better still, leaflets) are definitely a good idea. You want people to follow you online after the event, and you don’t want to have to rely on them remembering your name to Google it.

    3) Swag sounds like a nice idea, and I’m thinking about ordering some myself, but I’ve got no idea what good it does you realistically. Something to try, though!

    4) Having not organised one myself, I’m not sure. However, I try to keep enough books, business cards and leaflets on hand that I can turn up to this sort of thing any time.

    5) Yeah! If anything, I find people are more interested in what you’re doing than what you’ve done. It gives you something fresh to talk about, if nothing else.

    6) I think MailChimp (for one) advises against this as it’s difficult to prove that the addresses you’re adding to your mailing list came through a sign-up sheet and not through you adding people without permission. It’s probably not an absolute no-no, but you might be better off pointing people towards your mailing list on leaflets and/or business cards instead. I list various social media accounts on my website homepage, which gives people a few other options for keeping up with my news even if they don’t want updates directly in their inbox.

    I hope your event goes well! I’d be keen to hear more about it, as well as any suggestions for this sort of thing you have yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great poionts and so much to think about. I didn’t think about the unsolicited emial that a person might not remember signing up at a book signing. If you don’tmind, where did you find out about book signing events? From your Outbound publishers? I AM going to lok at business cards, some colorful and relevent leaflets and pleanty of books. If it is close to Halloween, I can add the anthology I was included in. Great thoguths. Thank you! I value your ideas so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s actually a little early to be thinking about signings for my Unbound book as there’s no book to sign yet! That’s my current “almost” ready book, and if anything I’m more eager to see that make it into print than I am to get further sales on the ones that are already out there.

        The first event I found out about was organised by the Hampshire Writers’ Society, and they led me to a couple of the others as well. The next book-related one is Winchester Comic Con, coming up next weekend, where I’ll also be on the author panel. Beyond that I sell jewellery at various craft fairs, and when I’m there I’ve usually got the books on display too: being around in person to sign things can be an incentive for people to pick them up on the spot even if it’s not the main focus of the event you’re at (I’ve also had jewellery customers asking me to sign business cards to go with the item).

        One thing I’ve discovered is that if you make the effort to turn up to every event you can, you’ll most likely find out about some other ones while you’re there. It also gives you a chance to identify other people who turn up to everything on offer, and in my experience those are the people you really want to keep in touch with.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I lived in the UK I would want one of your items. I mean you make Chain mail. How cool is that? 🙂 I am going to actively work on beiong more out there. More involved and more hands on in selling my first book and getting thse next books ready to sell as well. I will watch fro these events and start creating a circle of authors.


      3. Aww, thanks! I’m actually thinking of adding more chainmail to the Ten Little Astronauts rewards, but it’s tough to commit to making a whole lot: the bigger pieces take several days each.

        I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned these specifically yet, but if there are any open mic events going on nearby then those are well worth checking out. Even if you don’t read something yourself (though ideally I’d recommend giving that a go), you’ll meet a fair few other authors. Chances are whoever’s running the thing will be aware of other events too, if not responsible for those as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I read your post with great interest, Vicki. I have never done a public book signing, only one hosted at home for friends. The idea of leaflets and business cards sounds really good though. Makes you look professional and also makes it easy for people to contact you. Please let us know how it goes.


  5. THat’s a great idea to host one at your home. My family is so spread out, they wouldn’t be able to attend. I think they all have a copy by now, so I am ready to sell to strangers. 🙂 You know me, I will be posting how it went and how I am planning it. I just have to get a few ducks in a row first.


  6. I can’t really add to the ideas in these comments, except to suggest free wine and snacks. I was lucky enough to promote my first book in my local literature centre, which provided free wine at book launches – it certainly helped oil the wheels!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chapters/Indigo allows Indie to do a book signing. I started with a Cole’s store (part of the Chapter’s chain) in a tiny mall. It was scary initially, but it didn’t take long to become fun.
    Judy Penz Sheluk wrote about her first book signing – it’s quite helpful Also, ask your library to have a book fair with local authors and let them make the arrangements.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that is really good information. I appreciate the link to Judy’s post too. I will check with the library and see if I can arrange something since we have a little group pf not too far away from each other.
      Thank you!!


  8. It sounds like you’ve thought it all out, Vicki. Congrats. Bookmarks are always nice to hand out. Make sure you include where to buy your books, or your blog/ FB links, etc. Joining in with other authors is a great idea. Don’t forget to smile with and engage people at the event — look them in the eye, for starters. Congrats, and best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I certainly will be smiling. I will make myself make eye contact. Thank you for reminding me! The planning is fun. The event should be fun too. I am already excited to find a spot to set up this book signing.

      Liked by 1 person

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