Thursday, January 31, 2013

I’ll be honest. . .there are many things I enjoy about being author. Besides the gratification that comes with seeing my name in print, there’s the fan letters, the travel, even the occasional moment of local fame. One of the things I do not enjoy, however, that absolutely terrifies me if the truth be told, is book signings (I shudder as I write the words).

You say “book signing”, and I picture solitary authors sitting behind solitary tables, doing their best to be unobtrusive as people shoot pitying glances their way and then scurry off before making eye contact.

Am I right?

Unfortunately, that may sometimes be the case, but it doesn’t have to be, and that’s why I’ve created five simple secrets that YOU can do to insure you have a successful signing.

1. Publicize your signing well. Along with contacting the local media where you will be signing, how about creating a Facebook or Twitter campaign? Post the initial information early, and then send out a reminder just before the date of your signing. Also, add the information to your website or blog and update it frequently (no one wants to see where you were two years ago).

2. Bring freebies! People don’t mind accepting a chocolate kiss taped to a pen embossed with your website and the name of your book. I like to hand out Post-It notes with my book title and website address on them. Also, I keep bookmarks handy and make sure that I’ve autographed them before handing them out. Leftovers stay with the bookstore owner or librarian to hand out after I’ve gone. I bet there are lots of other good ideas out there. What have you seen that works well?

3. Walk don’t sit. If you bring someone with you to man the book table, you become free to roam. I like to visit and chat with other people, so this makes my signing much more personal and less like a sales pitch. In fact, I got to meet two local authors at my last book signing. April Anderson is both an author and speaker with a ministry dedicated to helping young women maintain purity of heart, mind, and body. Sheldon R. Smith works to help others discover the dreamer inside. What do either of these people have to do with selling books? Nothing! But we exchanged information and will hopefully be sharing articles on one another’s blog and that = networking potential.

4. Take time to “pretty up” your space. We all like to shop, right? So quick…tell me the first thing that impresses you about your favorite store? Isn’t it the décor and the way things are displayed? Also, isn’t a variety of wares important? So along with books, what else are you selling? I’ve created mugs that feature my blog design and address. I also offer audio books and large print editions for readers who have difficulty with regular print books. Add a nice plant for esthetic pleasure and some creative spacing on different levels to capture the eye, and voila! The longer people linger…the more likely they are to buy.

5. Don’t let your signing be just about selling books. I like to talk to readers, but it’s more important that I listen. Think of it as speed dating! You are trying to build a relationship in five minutes or less, after all. So ask questions. What do they like to read? Who are their favorite authors? If it’s a multi-author book signing, don’t be afraid to point them to another table that might better fit their interests. Remember, success isn’t only about numbers. Sometimes, it’s just about meeting new people and at the same time, having a little fun.

Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor, Book One in the EDGE OF FREEDOM series. Her work has also been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Elizabeth’s debut novel, Where the Truth Lies (coauthored with Janelle Mowery), earned her the IWA Writer of the Year Award. Her first historical novel, Love Finds You in Calico, California, was given four stars from Romantic Times. And her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and two grown children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit


  1. Thanks, Carrie. I'm sure you've done your share of book signings. Do you hate them as much as I do? What's one thing you've learned from doing them that you thought worked well?

  2. Thanks, Candice. Maybe someday, we can do a signing together! I'll tell you what...multi-author book signings are SO much better than single author signings, at least in my view. What do you think?


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