an author hosting a book signing in london

How to Host a Book Signing

Congratulations! Your book is now ready to be published and you’re wondering how to host your first book signing. It’s taken you a long time to get your book ready for publication, so you’re now giddy to get it out there. Your book will skyrocket in the Amazon marketplace after it’s published. You will experience record book sales in your first month of release. Sounds like a dream?

Okay, hold your horses. Yes, your book getting published might already be a done deal, but don’t lose sight of the big picture. Thousands of self-published authors launch their books every day. And we’re all swimming in a very crowded pond. So here’s the next caveat: how do people discover your book so that you can be a best-selling author?

A book signing event is a great way to market your book and sell copies. It also allows you to build some buzz and gain media attention. However, it’s not as simple as it seems. Read on to learn how to set up an author book signing.

How to Prepare for the Book Signing

Choose the Right Date and Time

Most book signings happen during the day, but they can also be held at night. Should you do it on a weekday, weekend, or holiday? There are a lot of factors that you’ll have to consider (like the availability of most of your attendees), so you’ll need to do some research before you decide.

You also need to have a clear idea about how long you will hold the book signing and the duration of each part of your program. In case you forget to set a timeline, then it will be difficult for you to manage the event.

Choose the Right Venue

The location will have a great impact on the overall event. It’s one of the most important things that you need to decide for your book signing event, so you must choose the venue wisely.

There are a lot of places that are available for hosting a book signing event like your house, local libraries, bookstores, coffee shops, etc. If you choose the right venue for hosting the event, then you will get more traffic. Here are some things to consider:

  • Event Space

The first step is to visit the venue and get an idea about it. You must check the layout of the room, consider the number of people expected to attend the event, and so on. Pick a place that is well-lit, clean, and has good visibility. 

  • Venue’s Accessibility

It is crucial to choose the venue which will be accessible for your guests. The venue should be near to public transport, like a railway station or bus stop.

  • Seating Arrangements + Amenities

There should be enough space for your guests to sit down comfortably. You also need to check whether or not the venue is equipped with all the features that you are looking for, like a speaker and microphone if you need them. If a venue doesn’t have the things you’re looking for, you can consider renting those.

  • Availability of Parking

If you are planning to host a big event, then make sure that the venue has ample parking space. You need to consider this factor as some of your guests will arrive in their cars. If the venue doesn’t have enough parking space, then they will struggle to find parking.

Choose the Right Guests

You can invite your family members, friends, and colleagues. This will help you get your first positive reviews. But it is not enough to invite just those who are close to you. Here are a couple of things to consider:

There are two types of book signings: general book signings (public events where anyone who wants to can come) and VIP book signings (events where you invite people in and have limited space). Decide which type you want to host.

Invite people who are your potential audience. While you were writing your book, you certainly already had a target audience in mind. Reach out to them. For example, if you are having a book signing event for your children’s book, then it is better that you invite the parents of your children. You can send invitation cards to them and ask them to come to the event with their kids.

Choose the Right Food

If you can afford to serve food, do it. Otherwise, you can consider selling event tickets to cover the costs. Majority of people like to munch while they read. A great book signing can be like any other party, so you should serve whatever is most appropriate.

Have a table with all sorts of goodies for them to eat and drink while they are waiting for the author to arrive. Bread and cookies are good choices—they are filling. You can also serve them tea or coffee.  You need to make sure you have plenty of water too.

If you are having a buffet, offer some finger foods, such as chips, dips, and olives. If you are having a sit-down meal, serve something from each of the main food groups. You could serve soup or salad.

It’s very important that you make sure your guests are comfortable. A happy tummy makes for happy guests.

Have an Agenda

It is very important to make an agenda for your event so that everyone can follow it. It will also make you stick to the time schedule. Make sure that you write down all the details of your event so that you can use them as references.

If you do not make an agenda, you can easily get carried away by the crowd and the atmosphere, and you may end up extending your book signing event for a longer period of time.

How to Promote the Event to the Public

The next thing you need to do is to plan a good marketing campaign. You should start the promotion of your book before the event. Create some good content in the book like video clips, pictures, infographics, etc. You will be using these when promoting. Here are a couple of ways you can market your book signing event:

Create a Website or Landing/Sales Page Dedicated to Your Book

Most books don’t sell well without an internet presence. With an internet presence, you can get your book discovered by people who might not otherwise have read it.

A website is a place where people can get information about your book. A landing/sales page is a place where you can promote your book.

You can have both a website and a landing or sales page for your book. Then promote it on social media, your blog, and all other places where people would be interested in your book.

Post the Event on Social Media

Social media is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to connect with your audience. Using social media to promote your book signing gives you the opportunity to interact directly with your fans and engage them.You can give them an opportunity to get to know you better. When your fans find out about your upcoming book signing, if their conditions permit, they will come and say hi.

You do not have to use all of the social media platforms to promote. You can focus on two or three platforms depending on who your target market is. For example, LinkedIn is where professionals are, Instagram is popular for millennials, Tiktok is where most Gen Y is, and Facebook has users from all generations.

Here are some tips on how to utilize social media to promote your book signing:

  • Add your book cover to your social media profiles.
  • Create a Facebook page for your event. Include a picture of you, your book, and a description of your book.
  • Put up a Facebook event where people can RSVP and attend.
  • Post reels and stories on your Instagram account about your upcoming book signing and post the link in your bio.
  • Tweet updates and behind-the-scenes look on Twitter about what’s going on with your event.
  • Sign up for the Book Promotion Program on Linkedin.com, where you can create a special page, add some pictures, and promote your book.

Send Out Invitations

If you are going to host a book signing event, you can also make digital invitation cards that will help you spread the news about the event. Send out an email to friends, family, and acquaintances to get the word out about your book signing. If you have potential guests who are not tech-savvy, you may also give physical invitation cards.

Getting Ready for the Event

Hire a Photographer

If you can afford to pay for the services, then you should definitely hire a professional photographer. You’ll need a photographer for two things: for taking photos of your book and shooting during the event. 

Hire someone who specializes in book signings. They have the experience and expertise to get everything ready ahead of time, including the best locations, the right backdrop and lighting, and more.

A professional photographer can take great photos of your book you can use to post on your website, social media, and other promotional materials. 

You’d also definitely want one of the most memorable moments of your life to be captured professionally! Make sure your photographer is there when you sign books to take photos of the event. This will be the only chance to get great shots of you with your fans. You can then use the photos to further promote yourself.

Invite the Media

The next thing you need to do is to invite the local media. Inviting the media for the event would mean that they will write some articles about your book or do video coverage of the event and that will help you promote your book. You can give them a chance to interview you or you can even have a photoshoot with them.

A Few Things You Can Say to Your Guests

Another thing that comes to mind when you think about your book signing is your own introduction. So you need to make sure that you’re prepared with some information about yourself.

Your readers will also expect you to tell them something about your book. Aside from saying thank you for the gift of their time and their support of your book, you can also prepare a speech that answers the following:

  • Why did you decide to write this book?
  • Why do you think this book is important?
  • What is your favorite part of the book?

Setting Up the Right Environment

Choose decorations that match your brand and your book cover. You also need to get a table in a location where it’s sunny but shaded too. A good location is behind a window, but not directly facing the sun. Place any items you need nearby so they are easy to reach. Next, place the books on display in a way that is visible to everyone in the room.

You will also need a few items like a speaker, microphone, and a laptop or tablet to display the book on. It’s also best to have tables and chairs ready for the audience so that they can sit comfortably while they read through the book. 

Things to Do During the Book Signing

How to Handle Your Guests

As a first-time author book signing host, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. You want to make sure you have everything under control, but don’t know where to start, especially on how to handle your guests.

Do you have friends or family coming to your book signing? How can you keep your guests focused and engaged? You might think these are simple questions, but the answers can really make or break a book signing. If you don’t have a plan for how to handle guests, they can quickly turn into a distraction.

It is best to know beforehand how many people to expect. Remember that the more people there are, the harder it will be to manage the event. So if it is your first time hosting a book signing, try to limit the number of people who will attend.

You should treat your guests as you would any guest in your own home. Serve them drinks, food, answer questions, and give them a comfortable place to sit.

The best way to handle guests during your book signing is to have one staff member in charge of helping you with the signing of books, while another staff member is in charge of making sure the guest has everything they need and keeping them happy.

A book signing is an opportunity for you to get to know your readership. Have a guestbook to keep track of your guests. It should have a space for their name, email address, and contact number. This will help you reach out to them again in the future.

How to Handle Yourself

It is important to look neat. Make sure you’re well-groomed. Have a pen or marker to sign with. It’s helpful to have your business cards available too. Below are some questions you might want answers to.

Q: What’s the most important thing you can do at a book signing?

A: Do not be late.

Q: How should I handle myself when I’m at a book signing?

A: Be professional, yet humble and friendly. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with the attendees. It’s the most important part of the experience. When you sign books and are interacting with everyone, people love it.

Q: Is there any etiquette that I should follow?

A: There can be many people at signings that it would be hard to keep track of who is there for you and who isn’t. Just be yourself. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. People will always want your attention. You are in a room full of people so don’t be overly worried or serious. You are there to interact with people, not to do anything extraordinary. 

How to Make the Book Signing Successful

At the end of the day, the biggest question you need to answer is what do you want to achieve. If your goal is to gain followers, make money, or just increase awareness, then align your expectations with your preparations. 

A successful book signing is a combination of many things. One, you have to promote the event in advance. The more time you spend promoting it, the better. Two, you must be ready to interact with the people who come to see you. You need to be friendly and approachable. Three, you need to be prepared to answer questions. And most importantly, you want them to feel like they had a great time.

You have to create a special experience for your attendees because this will encourage them to share the experience with their friends and followers.  The goal is to give them a sense of having been part of something worth raving about.

Do not forget to thank the audience. At the end of the book signing, make sure that you thank all the people who supported you throughout the event.

Things to Do After Hosting the Book Signing

The book signing event is over. You have hosted the event with full enthusiasm and prepared for the best experience. But now what should you do?

Rest

It is natural to feel tired and exhausted after an event like this, so you may not be able to do much right after. Take some time off and just relax.

Debrief

Talk to the people you know who attended your book signing and ask them for feedback. Did the event go smoothly? Was there anything that you missed? Are there aspects you could improve on? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you plan and execute your next book signing event better than the last time.

Post on Social Media

Share to your followers the photos and videos taken during your book signing. Those who attended will be happy to see their pictures, and those who weren’t there will see the fun and will try their best to be at the next event. You will also be getting comments from the attendees about the experience and what they learned from the book—an effortless way to get feedback and reviews!

Make a Blog Post

Create a detailed account of the event on your blog. Share the post on your social media accounts, and make it easy for others to share or repost your content. This is another way to market your book. Media outlets, even those that didn’t attend the event, could pick up on your post and create features about it. That’s more publicity for you and your book!

Alternatives to Traditional Book Signing

Just reading everything above is exhausting, right? Well, that’s how traditional book signings are. But if you can’t imagine yourself doing all of that to become a best-selling author or you just do not want to expend that much energy, time, and money—good news: there are alternatives.

Virtual Book Signing

When you host a virtual book signing event, you don’t have to go to different cities to sign books. You can do it from the comfort of your own home instead! No need to worry about the venue, the parking space, the food, the decorations, etc.

The best part is that when you host a virtual book signing event, you will be able to reach out to more people than you would normally reach in physical book signings. You can make a live video on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or any other social media platform and let people know about your upcoming event. You can host your virtual book signing via Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, etc.

If you have a book in the same genre as that of another author, you can even host a virtual book signing event with that author! Yassss, collab!

Leaders Press “Become a Best-Selling Author” Service

Now if you totally do not want to do all these promotions by yourself—because, admit it, as an entrepreneur or a leader in your industry, you just do not have the time anymore—but still want to be a best-selling author, Leaders Press can make you one. Leaders Press has been providing authors with a no-hassle way to get published and is proud to have worked with some of the most innovative and effective leaders in the world.

If you are interested in learning more about how Leaders Press can help you write your next bestseller, click here to schedule a short consultation call for free.

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