Monday, February 7, 2011

Book Signing Etiquette

Like it or not, book signings are still a valid marketing technique for authors. How easy it would be if we could all hide behind our screens and do all our promotions in our fuzzy slippers and pjs. Sometimes, though, we need to get out there and meet the readers face to face. I'm one of the ones who'll be getting "out there" soon, so I was glad to find this post in AuthorNation by Alicia Harrell.

On November 13, 2010, I had a book signing at a Hastings store. This was my first only-me-featured-as-an-author book signing. I was extremely grateful for the many who attended. This event went well; could not have asked for better.

Afterwards, I voluntarily autographed the remainder of my book's copies. The book manager was very pleased. She immediately placed "autographed copy" stickers on each cover, then invited me for bi-weekly or monthly visits to check on Just Alex's sales. She further said, "When you get your next book published, let us know. We will then arrange another book signing." This Hastings has a policy of one book signing per release of book during the year it is published. They feel their policy is the fairest to all authors. I respect this and was delighted the bookstore wanted me for another.

I waited two weeks and then visited Hastings to see how Just Alex looked on the bookshelf. For me this was very exciting. I wanted to see which Science Fiction books Just Alex would be next to on the shelf. Well, as luck would have it, my book was not on the Science Fiction book shelf as expected. Instead the business savvy book manager had placed Just Alex where everyone walked past for all to notice the "autographed" copies. The book manager had professionally arranged my book's copies into a display in order to generate sales. This was a delightful surprise!

It pays to autograph all copies left at a bookstore after a signing. People view autographed copies as collectibles. Customers are more inclined to purchase autographed copies. This benefits the bookstore and author. Glad I learned this lesson during my first year as an author.

Another huge benefit is the ability to refer friends, neighbors, and those encountered publicly to the bookstore that has the autographed copies. I have referred several to the Hastings store in for their "autographed" copy. I have received positive feedback from some of these happy new owners of Just Alex who visited this Hastings solely for their autographed copy.

Support your local bookstores. They support local authors.
(originally posted in AuthorNation, December 10, 2010).

What Alicia wrote makes sense--like reciprocal back-scratching. Local bookstore owners are willing to help authors who aren't just go-getters, but who also go the extra mile.

Alicia Rose resides in Southern Oklahoma. She is the author of the Science Fiction novel Just Alex published by Infinity Publishing. Alicia has written numerous articles that explore a variety of topics; published by Associated Content,, HubPages and websites. Her blogs are located on AuthorNation and Wordpress.

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  1. Oooh. I want to do that! When's it gonna be my turn?

    Thanks for the useful information. I'm adding it to the huge file of "Things to Know When My Time Comes."

  2. Another reason why it pays to autograph any leftover copies - bookshops can no longer return them to the distributer under the "sale or return" agreement. This means they have to sell them.

  3. Great information. Thanks for sharing, Alicia!

  4. vvdenman--that file will come in handy before you know it!

    Jessica--great point! I didn't think of that!

  5. Jessica you have a valid point, however, bookstores are able to purchase from more than one book list and can directly from publishers. There are book lists and publishers that offer a refundable policy in their sales agreement.

    The main reason behind autographed copies is that there a people who will only buy those. Autographed copies are automatically collectibles upon being signed. This makes their value increase with time; especially if in mint condition. Think of them as big collectible baseball cards. This is the main reason behind bookstores preferring autographed copies to sell.

    Yes, concur with Linda. Vvdenman, your file will definitely come in handy and help you remember important steps.

    You are most welcome K.M.

    It is a delight to share with all on AuthorCulture.

  6. What a great idea! And yes, it seems to help both parties. Good luck on the book signing!

  7. Great post! Not at this point yet, but I am determined to get to it one day, and when I do, this advice will be invaluable.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)