I have booked my first official author signing event! I am so excited. February 21st! It’s crazy to think I self-published my first book almost two years ago, but I haven’t ever done an official signing event. I have sold my books at festivals, but mainly, I’ve been focusing on the ebook side of things. But now, the local indie bookstore I work with has offered me a spot in February!
Anything I do, I like to research first. I read what everyone else has done, I see if there are articles with tips, I look up books in the library. This was no different. I want my author event to be fun, I want it to attract a crowd, I want to sell books, I want to find potential new fans. There’s so much I want from this, and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. So I researched, and I thought I’d share with you what I found. I’ll share with you my game plan and keep you updated.
Audience and Promotion
Who is going to go to my signing?
I write Young Adult, though it’s been called New Adult, as well. My target audience is the 14-25 age range. I looked up all the high schools in my town, and I’m going to take a weekday to go around and talk to their libraries and their English teachers, telling them about the event. That means I either need the poster the bookstore made for me or my own flyers, and they need to look good! My graphic design + a color printer = love.
I’m also going to tell everyone I know. I have friends who have been asking about my books, family who have supported me the whole way. I have writer partners who have read portions of the book I’ll be highlighting. The bookstore will put a press release out in the two main newspapers, and I’ll find other news outlets who’d be interested in a local author.
What am I going to do?
Part of this program is given: talk a little bit, read from my book, and sign books. But what do I talk about? What do I read? What do I even sign?
Talking: talk about something readers would find interesting about the book. Where did I get the ideas from? Are there any locations or characters inspired by real life? Any funny stories I can tell them about my writing process?
Reading: The consensus seems to be to read short, exciting scenes. The key is to convince the readers they want to read this book. Don’t bore them with your voice. Throw in a cliffhanger. Also, I will definitely practice in front of a mirror. I don’t want to trip over any words. I even found a recommendation to print off your scene and put it in a binder so you’re not struggling with the book, the font is big and easy to easy, and you can cut out anything the reader might night understand (something mentioned earlier in the book, for example).
Signing: I’ve struggled with this in past signings. Do I go for funny? Witty? Inspiring? I think my signing should match the tone of my book, which is about rising above and fighting adversity. So I might sign something like, Find your own magic or something. I’m still working on this, but I will find something short, something connected to the book. And I’ve perfected my autograph already!
What else should I be thinking about?
I’m going to provide refreshments for those who attend. I was thinking an Italian soda bar, but that’s a little elaborate — more for a release party or something. I’m going with homemade sweets (cookies? cupcakes?) and maybe some apple cider, since it’s in February and might be cold outside. But then how to keep it warm? I’d need a thermos of some kind. So much thought goes into this!
I will definitely have bookmarks there. I got about 100 for only $20 during the last festival I went to. I need to make sure there are enough for this event and see if I need to print off more!
What am I going to wear?? I want to look nice, but also be comfortable.
I’d like to have a fun activity to help loosen everyone up at the beginning of the night. My ideas so far:
- A mad lib of a scene from my book with words taken out. Share your scene with the people sitting around you, then I read the real scene from the book. (Is this too classroom like? I think it’d be fun, but I like mad libs!)
- Guess what my book is about based on the title and the cover. (I like this idea because I don’t know how many people who show up will know about my book. Then I can tell them what it’s really about.)
- Well, I suppose that’s all I have so far! Better than nothing, right?
Wish me luck! Let me know how your author events have gone, and I’ll keep you updated on mine. And if you’re near Salem, Oregon, check out the event on Facebook!
Emily Ann Ward is the author of Finding Fiona, Le Garde series, and The Protectors series. One of her first stories featured a young girl whose doll came to life. The rest is history. Aside from writing, she loves traveling and she’s the managing editor of the Rush line for Entranced Publishing. Currently, she lives in Oregon with her husband Chris and their cats. Visit her website at http://emilyannward.com