Friday, March 17, 2017

Multi-Author Signings

Last fall I participated in a multi-author signing. It was sponsored by the Loveland Public Library, which is a state of the art facility. There were over fifty authors present with their books on display.

These kinds of events can be very frustrating for the newly published if they have wild expectations for sales. Unless you are a big-name author, chances are you'll be lucky to sell a couple of books.

So why go? There are many reasons to attend and here are a few cheery tips, warnings and observations to make the most of these events:

1. Just because someone doesn't buy your book on the spot doesn't mean he won't buy it later in a different format. On-line offerings are less expensive. 

2. Note the number of persons who explore the displays with a pen and pencil--taking notes. They might plan to download directly from the library. Electronic services through local libraries have exploded. Hoopla, Overdrive, Freading, Librivox, and OneClickdigital are sites that allow instant access to material.

3. If you've published a number of books, bring all the titles. Browsers usually ask "what is the first book in the series?" And that's the one they will want to buy! Not your latest. Multiple titles also demonstrate that people buy and read your books and the publisher finds it worthwhile to stick with you.

4. Put some thought into your display. Buy little bookstands. Make the collection colorful. Some of the authors tables at this event were works of art. Print out a little sign with prices and lay it to one side so customers won't have to ask.

5. Concentrate on getting browsers to stop at your table. Yes, lure them with chocolate. There is no way they can buy books from fifty authors. A little boost to their blood sugar and some pleasant conversation (about your books) can be a welcome pause in the lengthy time it takes to survey the tables.

6. About that pleasant conversation! Make each person feel good about not buying your books. What? Sounds crazy? It's not. Most folks feel guilty about not supporting local authors. People who have done you the enormous courtesy of stopping at your table should be encouraged to read flap copy, the blurbs on the back, and a few sample pages. Get the books in their hands while you talk. Then encourage them to look at other tables before they purchase. After doing so, you and your books will stick in their minds. Not the surly author who sighed and looked cranky when the overwhelmed buyer didn't shell out.

To be my next posting.

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