Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What About Book Signings? Do you do them, or go to them? by Morgan Mandel

If you're in the area, three of us Acme Author List members will be over at the Snowbird Craft Show 2010 at Prospect High School Field House on Sunday, Novem ber 21, 2010, from 10-4pm, signing our books. Free parking, raffle, concessions, bake sale. I, Morgan Mandel, plus Debra St. John and Margot Justes would love to say hello to you.

On one of the egroups I belong to, and also on Facebook, some of the members confessed they disliked doing book signings. I admit they can be discouraging. With the economy the way it is, often the public is attracted to the big name draws, not us midlist authors.

I do lots more online promotion these days, but I do like to get out every once in a while, like I'll be doing on Sunday,  to spread the word. I know it's hard to believe for some of us, but there are people out there who still don't use computers, and still enjoy reading printed books.

What about you? Do you participate in book signings, at bookstores or other venues, either as an author or as a reader? What's your take on the best place to sell a book?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career, a romantic suspense, now 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords.


Jan Kozlowski said...

I am very lucky to be part of an amazing group of 21 authors published in the horror anthology HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE: An Anthology of Zombie Romance, edited by Lori Perkins and published by St. Martin's. We've had book signings all over the country, wherever our authors are based.

I was very lucky in that our northeastern signing, arranged by Lori Perkins, was at Blood Manor, a haunted attraction in NYC. It was my first signing ever and it was more fun than I could ever imagine. I had heard horror stories over the years from friends about sitting in bookstores and being asked where the bathroom was more often than signing books, but that was NOT a problem here. And at least when people ran screaming from the room, I could tell myself, legitimately, hey, it wasn't from meeting me!

Granted, being part of a zombie romance anthology allows you certain license to think outside the box, but perhaps getting creative when you start thinking about book signing locations might be a way to make signings more successful...not to mention fun.

BrennaLyons said...

Group signings seem to go best. The most sales I make at a signing are when I'm at RT or EPICon and doing the huge signings.

I only go to signings of authors that are autobuys for me and where the signing is held fairly close to where I live. But I love meeting the authors.


Maryannwrites said...

I enjoy going to signings and meeting authors. We have so much in common.... LOL

I also enjoy doing signing events, especially love to talk to young people who are avid readers and want to talk about books and the writing process.

For me, the best places for events have been bookstores when I am there by myself or with one or two other authors. The larger events with lots of authors have not done as well as Brenna mentioned. Not sure why. One author said that people are put off when they walk into a venue and see 20 hungry authors looking at them. I think the venues she mentioned are successful for book sales because attendees are readers and writers who will always buy books.

LK Hunsaker said...

Funny how the experiences differ, but I think what Jan mentioned was key: where you do it and when matter! If you can grab a place that goes well with your book theme, you should do better. However, I think it's mostly a toss-up as to whether you'll get sales. Always have promo stuff to hand out and consider that a success in itself.

I usually stop by an author doing a signing, to show support. However, it bothers me when s/he doesn't have so much as a business card I can take with me. I don't like spur of the moment decisions and will more often say no than yes if I'm on the spot.

Cheryl said...

As a reader, I've never been to a signing.

I'll be doing my first book signing as an author on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at our church. We'll see what happens. I don't have any unrealistic expectations.


Cornelia Amiri said...

I no longer do as many booksignings as I use to. I concentrate on online promotion now but I do booksignings at two local independent bookstores and I get a booth each year at the Houston Highland games. I also like to do group signings at our local sci-fi and fantasy con each year. It's good to get out a little and meet the fans in person but I don't go out of the city for booksignings any more and I limit it to the above venues which I always enjoy and usually do well at.

carl brookins said...

I do online promotion mostly, unless specifically invited. What I do is events: Group author signings, presentations to libraries and book clubs, esp. with the Minnesota Crime Wave. events like the excellent Write of Spring every year at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

I do signings by myself and with other authors. Now my nonfiction ghost books sell well for me, even alone. And some conventions I've done well when I have a table.

One thing about signings, you will met new readers. It's just another place to get readers.

One I had less success is when I am ask to give a talk at libraries (ghost books again) and I think people come for the free talk on ghosts. I will not do long distance again for this--not worth the gas.

Lesa said...

I'm a reader, not an author, and I do attend book signings, both at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, once in a while at Changing Hands in Tempe (hard to get to), and at my library. I don't buy books often, unless it's at an author booksigning. Then, I buy it & have it signed, to me personally. I'm not buying them for collecting purposes.

And, if the library needs a copy of the book when the author appears there, I'll buy it and donate it to the library. As Pamela said, the audiences aren't always large at the library, and they don't always buy a number of books. But, it's an important venue to introduce readers to the author.

So, I find author appearances important. I will buy books by new authors there, and I won't buy them just off the shelf at a bookstore or online, unless I've met the author.

Jenny said...

Although most of my marketing and promotion is online, I do as many signings as I can to get my name and face out there. So far, I've stayed local due to cost. I enjoy meeting the readers and other authors, and feel I'll build a better following by doing so.

Kelley Heckart said...

I don't do as many book signings as I used to do, but I still like to get out at least once a year to promote in person. I have had a lot of success with selling books at book signings, but with the economy the way it is now, sales haven't been as good at book signings.

I enjoy promoting online much better--it's cheaper and I can do it at my convenience. And whatever I have been doing has paid off in a nice, big royalty check this quarter.

jenny milchman said...

I don't have much to add except that I cannot WAIT to do a signing, whether it's for two hundred readers, twenty, or "just" the two booksellers (who are as much what stopping in at a store is all about).

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

There don't seem to be as many book signing opportunities now as there were when my first novel came out in 2001. Many Barnes & Noble stores in several states had signings for me then and promoted them. Now they don't, and many of the independent book stores are gone.

I'm anxious to see how on-line promotion develops.


Debra St. John said...

I do booksignings of a sort. I tend to stick to the "craft show" type ones, and to be honest, they haven't been very successful. Being a small press author, getting into the larger bookstores isn't easy, and even then there's no guarantee of selling a certain number of books.

But, I keep plugging away. Like Morgan mentioned, we'd love to see you on Sunday if you're in the neighborhood!

Fiona McGier said...

As as reader, I have gone to many book signings at the closest local independent book store, Andersons in Naperville, IL. But as an author, I have done only one, and the sales were so-so, mostly to friends of mine who wanted my newest book. I'm still seeking a way to connect with readers who might be looking for a new voice, but there's so many of us, that it's hard to get noticed. And the independent bookstores don't like to carry PODs anymore than chain stores do, unfortunately.

Chester Campbell said...

I used to travel a lot doing signings, but like many of the others I stick mostly close to home for bookstore signings. I do go to events like the Kentucky Book Fair last weekend. I sell lots of books there (not as many as pre-recession), and it's always nice when people say I have this one and this one, I'll take the new one. A colleague and I do area outdoor festivals and sell quite well at them. Our local mystery bookstore stocks all of mine and handsells them.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I do signings occasionally, but the best luck I ever had was at a Holiday Market at the Senior Center in my corner of Colorado -- held the two days following Thanksgiving.

As for attending signings, I do like to do that, especially if I know the author. I think the last one I went to (that I wasn't also participating in) was for Sandra Dallas. She's always fun.

Erin Aslin said...

My ebook is women's fiction. Can someone please advise how do I promote it, what are the good promotional on-line sites, tools, etc? I’d really appreciate whatever you have to say on the topic