FAQs about Book Signings

Since I self-published my first book, "101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly," in 1998 and began doing book signings shortly afterward, many people have asked:

1. What do you get paid to do a book signing?

It depends on where the book signing occurs. Most bookstoresdo not pay authors to do a book signing. Linda Ligon,Interweave Press, says that her authors are paid anhonorarium by craft stores. The "pay" is most often anopportunity to interact with readers, increase the sales ofyour book, and enhance your status as an expert.

2. How much money do you make on a book signing tour?

It depends-and you may never know precisely. It depends to alarge extent on how well your events are publicized becausemore people attend when excitement is created about theevent. It depends on your presentation and interaction withthe audiences. You may know how many books were sold duringthe event, but that is not the end of the story. Onebookseller says that more than 60% of the sales are madeafter the author leaves the store.

3. Why would anyone go to a book signing?

To meet the AUTHOR! In many sections of the country, justbeing an author makes you a celebrity. You are theauthority. Having an autographed copy of your book sets thereader apart. In one city a lady purchased several copies of"101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly."With each request, she told me something about the recipientso that I could tailor my comment for that individual.

4. What's in it for authors who do a seminar or talk ontheir book?

By presenting a mini-seminar or discussion at a booksigning, you demonstrate your knowledge on the topic. Youcan elaborate on the contents and tell stories about thingsthat happened while you were in the writing process. Youalso have an opportunity to develop a rapport with thereaders allowing them to experience you as a "real person."Event sponsors will like you because you have provided afree service for their clientele. They will be most likelyto welcome you back with your next book.

5. What if nobody shows up? Even celebrity authorsoccasionally have a "no show," so don't give up! The mostimportant thing is how you react when nobody shows up. Keepsmiling and draw on your positive mental attitude. Oftenpeople will be in the aisles between the shelves, notwanting to be the first to step forward. Walk over to thesection where your book would be, introduce yourself topeople there, and invite them to the presentation. Offerthem a free flier or handout. After the event sponsor hasread the introduction you provided, wait a few minutes, andthen begin your presentation at the appointed time with awelcoming message. If a microphone has been provided, useit. If no one shows up after two or three minutes, bringyour talk to a close with an invitation to people millingabout to visit the table later. Usually, managers will askauthors to sign some extra copies. Be gracious anduncomplaining. Later, review your actions and see what mightbe improved upon.

6. How do you find the time to set up a tour?

Conducting a book signing is like presenting a play. Thereare several roles-the author designs the tour (venues anddates), prepares a mini-seminar, discussion, or speech, anddoes the signing. The support staff makes the contacts andprovides publicity material, orchestrates the traveldetails, and does the follow-up to be certain thateverything is synchronized. A separate person or company maybe involved in the publicity effort, depending on theexpertise of the support staff.

7. Assuming that you have had "no shows," what's the bestbook signing event you have ever held?

It is seldom that a "no show" occurs. The best book signingevent I have had was at a large Barnes and Noble bookstorein El Paso, TX, where I signed "Take Charge of Your Life."The event was preceded by interviews on three televisionshows (affiliates of national networks) and a radiointerview. The El Paso Times newspaper published an articleabout the book on the day of the signing. It was on thefront page of the "Living" section with a color photo of thebook cover. That evening, after the bookstore staff broughtall the chairs in the store into the presentation section,people were standing along the sides. Most of the audiencestood in line long after the presentation to talk with meand get their books autographed. You, too, can have suchevents. We can help you.

Jo Condrill has done book signings across the country and she can show you how to. She is an award-winning author, speaker, and consultant with over 25 years of experience in business, government and volunteer organizations. She is coauthor of"From Book Signing to Best Seller: An Insider's Guide to Conducting a Successful Low-Cost Book Signing Tour." This book was named the 2002 Best Writer's Reference Guide by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Listen to an interview with Jo at http://www.jackstreet.com/jackstreet/rr.condrill.cfm for more information, visit her website http://www.publishandprosper.com http://www.publishandprosper.com

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