Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Signing Etiquette

If you're a writer, at some point you might be asked to do a book signing.  I've done a few and here's some things I've learned:

Be Prepared: Have three pens (at least one will walk off, the other die), plenty of books, swag (bookmarks, etc.) book stands (book stores don't always provide these).  And try to look nice.

You need traffic: Make sure the bookstore sets you up where people will be walking by.  If you're in the back corner, people aren't going to seek you out.

Be polite, nice, and friendly: Establish rapport with the customer.  Ask them their name, ask them how their day is going.  Smile, be friendly.  They are much more likely to pick up your book if they think of you as a friend.

Have a "elevator speech" ready for each book: You need a one-sentence description for each book you have there.  For instance, for Hammer of Thor I say "Hitler steals the Hammer of Thor, Thor comes back for it. Bad news either way."  No one wants to listen to a ten-minute dissertation on the plot points of your novel.  Keep it short and simple.

Don't snipe: If it's a multi-author event, don't snipe customers from other authors.  Let them finish with the customer before you talk to them.

Ask how to spell the name: These days, especially, names can be spelled weird.  So always ask "Who do I make it out to" and then "How do you spell that?" or "Is that spelled D-A-N?"  You'll be surprised how many names are spelled very strangely: "No, that's D-H-A-N-N."

Sign and put the date: Putting the date makes it seem more official and special.

Say "Thank you" and mean it: and give them a bookmark (you do have bookmarks, don't you?).

Stay positive: If no one buys your books, or even speaks to you, stay positive, give out swag, and SMILE.  No one will want to talk to you if you're a grump.

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