If you’ve ever attended a book-signing by one of your favorite authors, you know how awkward it is to talk with them when they’re sitting down behind a table. It’s also a very impersonal way to deal with people who are your fans. Unless you’re a New York Times bestselling author and if you want to sell books at a book-signing, festival or anywhere, you’re going to have learn to stand up and smile a lot.
As a publicist, my mind is always at work. Even when I’m at events, whether I’m working the event or not, I’m watching and learning. When I attended a cigar festival last year with my husband, I pointed out to him the obvious mistake that several of the biggest names in the cigar industry where making at their booths. They were sitting down. And the consequences of their choice to park themselves in their seats was abundantly clear. There was no one standing in front of their booths talking or engaging with them.
This same ‘cause and effect’ is true for book-signings. If you want to sell more books, then you need to stand up and meet & greet your fans face to face. Shake their hands and ask them their names. These people traveled to see you, talk to you and get your autograph. You should be smiling and happy instead of sitting slouched in a chair, ignoring everyone but the BFF you brought along to keep you company. Yes, it’s tiring to stand, but well worth the effort.
Be proud of your book. Brag about it, show it off to passersby and get them interested in wanting to read it. If you didn’t think it was a hot topic or good story, you wouldn’t have written it. Tell them why it’s the best book they’ll buy all year. Don’t just stand there. Put a bowl of candy on your table and offer them a piece as they stroll by, then engage them in conversation about your book. If they’re not interested, hand them one of your business cards with your book title and website on it. A lot of sales are made after the event when people can order from the comfort of their home computer.
You’ve written your book, you’ve published it, and you’re drawing crowds of adoring fans at book-signings. My last piece of advice to all the self-published authors out there is to remain humble! There are over 600,000 books published each year in the U.S. alone. There are a lot of other self-published authors vying for the same readers. Be grateful for every sale. Thank everyone that buys your book and attends your signings and lectures. Your appreciative readers will tell their friends about you.
Jennifer Vanderslice is the owner of MoonGlow PR. She is the author of two books: Journey Along the Abbey Road – the true story of her four day silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani; and The Frugal Publicist: How to promote your self-published book on the cheap! Jennifer is the mother of three children and grandmother of two. She lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband Craig, her pitbull Macha and her 3 cats.