BAM! Publish > How to Use Signings and Events to Sell More Books
Book signings are the next level of book marketing for independent authors. There’s an art to holding a successful signing, and like most things, it begins with preparation. You want to make it a magical event for your readers. Whether they’ve read everything you’ve ever written or they’ve barely heard about you, the more special the occasion the more likely they are to buy at least one of your books.
BAM! Publishing wants your books on our book shelves. We want your book product to make the cut to be in our local stores. When that happens, emphasize the concept of exclusivity. You’re going to be advertising the event on all your social media channels and every other place you can think of, but the reader needs to feel like it’s a special occasion that not everyone can experience. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to live close enough to that particular Books-A-Million store, right? Rarity conveys value for most things; a signed book is always seen as worth more than one straight off the shelf. That small note, your signature and the short conversation you have with each reader can turn it from simple words on a page into a treasured volume.
It’s all about treating your readers like special people. When they come to a book signing or author event, they’ll be expecting to stand in line, have a short conversation and get a signed book. Your job is to raise the level of this experience and make it more memorable. Begin with giveaways. Readers love exclusive little treats from authors, especially if they know they can’t get them anywhere else. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on giveaways. Depending on your budget, you can choose from a variety of items such as:
- Bookmarks with an image of your book cover and a quote on each side
- Business cards with a code or address where they can download a free chapter or essay
- Small crafts or trinkets that tie in with your genre
- Pens or cups that they’ll use over and over again, to keep your name in their mind
Set out a candy bowl and fill it with some sort of wrapped treat and encourage people to help themselves. It will make you look generous and friendly, and will give you more chances to talk with them.
People like to win prizes. Fill a basket with appropriate gifts, and allow each reader to fill out a slip for a drawing. Romance authors may give away wine glasses and a cozy throw, garden authors would do well with a basket of small gardening tools and Sci-Fi authors can have fun filling a basket with geeky prizes from space ship replicas to alien card games.
Books-A-Million may offer multi-author events for BAM! Published authors who have books on our shelves. These events can be the best marketing strategy you can use this year. Not only will you gather hundreds of new fans who are curious about your work, you’ll also have a chance to entice others who are proven interested in your genre. If they’ve come for one of your colleagues in the niche, there’s a good chance they’ll like your work, too. Writing and publishing aren’t zero sum games. Just because someone buys a different author’s book doesn’t mean they won’t buy yours. In fact, the opposite is more often true. Romance fans tend to buy more and more romance books the more they read them. The same goes for science fiction, thriller and even non-fiction works. Good books create more readers, no matter the subject matter.
If at all possible, get in touch with the other authors participating in the event to coordinate your efforts. Everything that works in a single author signing will work even better if a group of you do it together. Talk with each other to find out what kind of swag everyone is planning to hand out. Will you all create bookmarks, maybe with a common theme? Can you come up with something each of you gives away to create a collection? The collection concept works in more than one way. It makes the readers happy when they get a fun souvenir of their attendance, and it also encourages all the participants to visit every single author at the event in order to complete their collection.
Giveaways are even more fun and impressive if multiple authors contribute to the prizes. Have each author put in something connected to their book or series, or stick with genre-specific prizes. As long as the readers win, they will have fun meeting new and favorite authors, plus look forward to the chance at a fabulous prize.