First, how do you get publicity?
In our town, and it's not a big one, it's nearly impossible to get the paper to print anything about a new book, the author or a signing. I've considered paying for an ad to have some publicity for my next event.
What about the place?
The only bookstore in our little town is a used book store. I've had some signings there, but it's very small and no room for people to hang around, or even to give any kind of presentation. One of my friends had one at our local art museum and was well-attended by her friends--but no outsiders. (Lack of newspaper publicity, I think.)
Our library has a nice meeting room but if you're going to sell books you are supposed to get a business license from the city.
Do you give a presentation of some kind? Or just sign books?
I prefer giving some kind of presentation, that brings in more people, though not necessarily people who want to buy a book.
One thing I've noted over the years--if it's in a place where the author must handle the money, it's always best if someone else is assigned the task of the actual selling.
However, the author should remain available to sign the books. I was recently at a signing where the author wandered around visiting and had to be called back to the signing table.
Do you have a guest book? What do you want the people to put in it?
I want their name and email address and I always ask them if they want to get my monthly newsletter.
For me, just having them sign a guest book is missing a good opportunity of collecting email addresses, even if you only send out announcements about your next book or event.
And time frame--what are the best hours for a signing? I've done them at all hours.
I recently went to a tiny bookstore in a mountain community (I love going up there). It was on a Friday night from 6:30 to 7:30--bookstore's decision. There was publicity in the local newspaper, three people came because of that. I promoted on Facebook and two came from that. (My grandson's mother-in-law and an author friend I only see occasionally at book events.) Four out of five people bought books. I sold another to a friend who couldn't come, but whom we had dinner with before the event. We stayed overnight because we had an event to attend in the big city in the valley the next morning. (Sold a book there too because I had them with me.)
On November 23rd, I'm giving a presentation on How to Get Published with another author in the art gallery. It's had some minor newspaper coverage and we'll be in competition with many Christmas boutiques around town.
Any other do's and don't's, successes and failures, you'd like to share?