Today's fun facts? They revolve around book signings/appearances. Are you an author who's done some/a few/one? Are you a reader who's attended one? Leave me a comment and you'll be entered into my August blog giveaway: the prize is your choice of either a download of Diane Craver's brand new release Whitney in Charge, a download of my newest release One Night in Napa, or a print copy of The Write Ingredients, a cookbook of yummy recipes collected and organized by Lori Foster and featuring Samhain authors.
So anyway, I've had the opportunity to do a few different kinds of public appearances with my books, including straight-forward bookstore signings, conference presentations, readings, book club discussions, and craft fair appearances. Tips? Here are my top 10:
1. Bring your own books. Even in the cases where the store/conference/club has planned to order them for you, things might fall through (or you might sell out!!). Always carry at least 10 copies of your title(s) in the trunk of your car in case this happens.
2. Prepare. Know what you'll be doing. Sitting behind a table and greeting potential customers? Speaking? About what? Your book? Getting published? Romance sub-genres?
3. Following up on #2, bring good ol' swag. Always have bookmarks and/or business cards. Brochures, magnets, excerpt booklets, candy...whatever you're using for promo this time around, bring it and set it out in plain sight. Encourage hesitant browsers to at least take something small. Many times they'll linger long enough to pick up a book and read the back...and then you're halfway to a sale!
4. Arrive early. I mean, that's kind of a given, but know where you're going (especially if you've never been there before) and plan to get there at least 20-30 minutes before your appearance is scheduled to begin.
5. Smile and say hello. Be happy about your books! Talk about why you write, or what your latest book is about. Ask potential customers what they like to read. Be friendly. Be honest. Even if someone doesn't buy your book or take a bookmark. It's OK. They'll be back ;)
6. Enlist people to help you. I was at a book club discussion this week and I brought my sister along. While I mingled with people after the talk, she stood at a table in the back of the room and sold my books. 10 in less than 10 minutes. Not too bad - and it freed me up to sign books and speak with others. At a Borders signing back in May, I ran out of books -- and my hubby ran out to the car to get the back-up box I'd brought while I sat at he and stalled my potential customers (see #1).
7. Bring water (or something else to drink). I spoke a book club this past week and it was about 80 degrees in the room. I usually bring a bottle of water, but this time I forgot. Not good!
8. Be kind to the people making your arrangements. Bookstore managers, craft fair coordinators, librarians...they're all doing you a favor by setting up an appearance for you. At the very least, send a thank-you card or email after you're through. Or consider bringing a small token of thanks with you. Those people will be the ones who schedule future appearances for you...and the ones who talk up your work when you're not there :)
9. Send promo materials ahead of time. If you can, send bookmarks, or a poster/flyer advertising your appearance. Don't leave all the work up to the person setting it up for you (see #8).
10. Read. If you have the chance, and you feel comfortable doing it, read an excerpt from your latest (or favorite) book. I've discovered that people really do like hearing authors read their own writing. And if you pick a particularly juicy part (or a good cliff hanger) you may make a sale or two!
So...what else would you add to this list?