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Recent Book Signing

February 17, 2018

On 2/11/18 I had a book signing at our local library with a group of authors. Prudence, the librarian, gives the authors bookmarks to hand out when they have only an ebook. That’s a great idea. Even if you have real books to sell, you might want to consider doing a bookmark. It could include other books you’ve written, links to your blog and Facebook sites, as well as the ebook info.
For this book signing, I wrote two short stories and put them in a binder. Both stories just happened to be time related. The first story, The Scent of Time, is about the different scents we come across in our life from infancy to old age. The last story, The Cider Run Murders, is about the essence of time and not so much the hours in a day. I started writing it on Friday and finished that Saturday night. My husband read it and made a few suggestions. He liked the Cider Run story better than the Scent of Time.
I used a binder with a clear front cover so the title page would be seen easily. The title of my compilation was the title one of the poems – Time and Time again.
The first story was eleven pages long and the second only nine pages. Wanting to add a little heft to the book, I looked for other time related things to add. After the title page I put some verses from Ecclesiastics chapter 3, which were about time.
To help separate the stories, I put a page of facts on time and another page of all the phrases we use with the word time, like time to get up, no time to lose, time delay and the title Time and Time Again. The last page of the book is quotes about time from famous people. There were 25 pages in all. Not much of a book, but I figured I could sell it for a few dollars and come out ahead. Also, I slipped a bookmark in the front of each notebook.
After church the day of the book signing, I went straight to Office Max. It didn’t take them long to print out 7 copies. It took me longer to find the notebooks I wanted!
I arrived at the library around one o’clock and had to wait with a couple other writers for them to open the doors. The book signing started at two which was when the library opened. I still had to assemble my books! A woman came out to put some boxes in the recycle bin and she was kind enough to let us writers in to set up.
Before the first customers arrived, I had my books assembled and arranged attractively on the table. My friend Lee had a bouquet of flowers and a small dish of candy. The red flowers in the vase matched the flower on her book cover. How clever!
Harold, at the table next to me, tossed his change bag onto my table and asked me to watch it for a minute. That’s when it dawned on me I had no change. I checked in my purse and could come up with very little. Harold graciously offered to let me use his, but thankfully, I didn’t have to take him up on his kind offer.
There were a dozen authors at this signing. Prudence watched my table for me so I could visit several other authors. I ended up buying 5 books. What a way to spend my meager profit!
The signing was from 2-4pm. A large crowd appeared around 2:30. In the next half hour I sold 5 books and did an even trade with Harold. At first I figured $9, but before putting that price out I decided on $7.50. One of the other authors was my first customer. I told her $7.50, but as she walked away to get her money, I yelled to her, “$7 since I don’t have any change.” I heard chuckles all throughout the room.
I planned to give the last book to Cindy who does my editing. On Monday I remembered I needed something to sell for a fund-raiser at the Ladies’ Sertoma Club so I took my book. Oh, don’t worry about Cindy. I’ll make another copy for her.
At the meeting, I was given a few minutes to tell them about my book before it was put on the table with all the other items. Jackie did the auctioning. I was totally surprised when the price went over seven dollars! Jackie won with her twelve dollar bid. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the money, it went into the club funds.
I plan to sell that story notebook along with my regular books at all my book signings. I’m curious to see if it will sell as well as it did the first time. I’ve needed to print out a couple more copies, but those I printed at home. Today I discovered I used the wrong name in one place. Oops! Hopefully, the readers will figure it out and be forgiving of my error.
I’ve made a checklist of ten things I’d like to do at my next book signing. If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
Money: Most important; you need plenty of small bills and coins depending on your book price. I have taken checks, but I’m leery of those. I’ve been told the card readers are expensive to use, so I don’t know if I’ll ever get one.
Be on time or a little early so you can have your table set up and ready when the people first arrive.
Pricing: make sure you have your price figured out ahead of time! With my first book I charged $10 and everyone complained that was high for that size book. What they didn’t know was that each book cost me $10.11! I have since found a publisher in town with much better pricing.
Coordinate your table to your book cover: This may not always be possible, but if I’d thought of it, I would have put a large clock on my table. When my book with rocks is ready you can be pretty sure I’ll have some quartz and colorful stones on the table. Don’t clutter your table with too much stuff.
Table sign: Lee used one with a photo of her book cover. It gets people’s attention and it’s easier to see since it’s upright. Some books don’t stand well on their own or slide off the table when you lean them against the stack. You also could put a cartoon in the frame that’s related to your book, dates for other book signings or when your next book will be out, or even simply your name. Most of the others had signs taped to their table. I had nothing since I didn’t think of that.
Handouts: If you belong to a writer’s group, you might want to have handouts to invite others to come. I had several authors interested in coming to ours and no handouts.
Business cards or bookmarks: You could do both. People love to collect them, but I sometimes think the business cards are a waste of money.
Candy bowl: optional touch, but it gets peoples’ attention
Camera: I wish I’d remembered mine so I could have photos of the event.
Have Help: I went to a book signing where the author talked about his book and spent time talking to his followers. A friend took the money. I liked that idea, but don’t know that I need it just yet.

From → Writer's Craft

7 Comments
  1. Exciting stuff! I’m so envious ( in the good way) of your book signing. I don’t know of any other writers in my area…and often feel a bit isolated in my quest. Maybe you’re inspiring me to get out there and find others.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Check at your local library if you have one. Our librarian organized this and also lets writers do their own. I don’t know how long our Writer’s Guild has been in existence. It was already started when I moved here twenty some years ago. It’s a huge help, but it surprises me how many people say they never heard of it.

  2. Fun read. I haven’t done a signing so I enjoyed it vicariously. Sounds like fun if not profitable!

    • This was the first time I’ve ever done well at a book signing! I’ve had 6 or 7. So, you know I was happy.

  3. Great advice and happy your first book signing went so well! Lovely to read about it, Connie!

  4. How exciting for you! Terrific read!

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