Book Signings – Finding your Hook for the Right Venue

Book Signing at a New Leaf

Book Signing at a New Leaf

I’ve heard different theories of thought on book signings. Some people LOVE them and think that the best way to sell your novel is in person. Other authors who live predominantly in the digital world feel like you could reach thousands of more people with the right digital platform than the effort of doing a signing. That may be true, but online you simply don’t get the face to face you would if you have a reader standing in front of you.

So, I wanted to look for a venue for my novel, THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The book is about a young girl on a quest to avenge the death of her parents, murdered in their efforts to find the mystical land of XANADU. Along the way, she discovers something amazing about her own inner soul. It’s steeped in Tibetan Buddhism, takes place around the world, and is a thriller with a great twist.

I’ve done a few promotions and gotten some press, but I really wanted to do an in-person signing: a) for the experience and b) to see if I can get the word out to a different audience.

At first I called my local Starbucks. It’s a huge place and the manager was completely on-board. We were going to pick a weekend between holidays where biz was slow and it would help her drive traffic to the store and I was going to bring a lot of local people in. Then we tried to get confirmation from the Corporate office and they SHOT ME DOWN. They claimed that a signing would “interrupt their business.” Um, ok. I’d be in a teeny corner of this huge shop, bringing people in and purchasing products. Hmmm…

So then I started thinking… what is my hook? My first novel is a thriller called FLYING TO THE LIGHT and is about a young deaf boy. That novel’s hook was all the deaf websites and deaf schools. Even special needs fairs, sign language events, etc…

signing suppliesFor XANADU I figured Asian, Tibet, food, meditation, tea… I called Buddhist bookstores, meditation centers and then decided, why not a Tea Shop? I contacted the owner of A NEW LEAF tea emporium in Garden City, NY, and gave her a copy of my novel, discussed my social media platform and discussed how I would drive business to her event, and we did it. She was amazingly gracious and gave out samples of free tea and 10% off to anyone that came into the store during my signing. I decided to put out all my novels and purchased a bunch of Asian cookies and wafers – all individually wrapped with Chinese writing on them for authenticity.

I contacted the local papers and I was covered in the Garden City News, The Roslyn News and then, Long Island Newsday put the event and a big picture of me in the Fan Fare Books section. I was getting calls from everyone! I also did a few “events” on Facebook and Goodreads to announce it.

Overall, the event was a lot of fun. While I wished there was more native traffic to the store, it was a very cold day out so not as many people were walking around Garden City as normal, but still it was great. I had a few friends show up to fill some tables and then a bunch of people came in simply because they saw me in the paper. Quite a few people came in looking for “the author.” After four books, I’m finally feeling that yes, I can own that title.

The most wonderful news is the owner would love to have me back when I publish Book #2 in the series, which is titled THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB and, even better, this jumpstarted me having a signing at THE DOLPHIN BOOKSHOP – one of the large independent bookstores on Long Island – this has been on my bucket list. I believe this is going to happen now in June.

So, find your hook, any way that you can, and run with it. Even if it’s silly, just try. You never know.

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11 thoughts on “Book Signings – Finding your Hook for the Right Venue

  1. Pingback: The Writer and His Public Appearance | Tales From The Fifth Tower

  2. Great advice. I did a similar thing a year or so ago when the print version of my first book was ready, and while I did not exactly make a fortune, I got some coverage in the local papers and connected with some new readers.

    Thanks for posting this!

    • Scott, the really great thing is now you can take scans of those newspaper coverage events and photos of events and put them on your blog, your pinterest page, etc… I think it ups our professionability, too. Looks like we are capable of being everywhere.

  3. This blog proves the work involved in being an author isn’t all done while sitting at the keyboard, or while folding laundry and a stray thought hits us. When people think of writers I think they envision someone arriving to a signing in a limo, with a coat draped over their shoulders that an assistant takes from them before sitting down to sign thousands of books.

    Good for you in working so hard to fulfill your dream. Keep at it.

    • Thanks, Dana – sometimes the amount of work “outside” the writing is nearly as daunting. Especially when we’re doing it all ourselves, right? Thanks so much for commenting. 🙂

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