10 Reasons Why People Attend Book Signings


This is the survey result of 325 people conducted by myselfso I can improve at my own book signings. After completingthe survey, I saw the wealth of insight it had given me. Ifelt it was important to share it with a wider audience. Ialso interspersed some personal experiences.

The survey was conducted by Catherine in-person with peoplewho attended book signings at area bookstores in NorthernVirginia metro area between January 2004 and September 2004.A total of 325 people completed the survey.

Here is their response to one of the questions: Why do yougo to book signings?

If you are wondering how this can help you in marketing yourbook. These 10 items are extremely important. They tellwhat authors need to give to their audience in order toincrease their books sales and to connect with the audience.When you know what you audience wants, what they expect, theguessing fades and transforms into a great book signingevent.

Here are the top ten responses in answer to the firstquestion:

1. People desire to be acknowledged for taking their timeto come -- by you, the store, and others that came.Participants who have either already read the book, come tomeet other like-minded people. They have a social intentionand you need to give it to them. Most book signings don'thave any social aspect to them so create one. When youinclude ways, you will definitely increase sales. Peoplewant connection, they don't want to be ignored. Get themto talk to the people around them. Introduce one person youjust met to the next person to them. There are manytechniques or create some of your own. A seasoned authorlearned to do this over time. Learn to do it sooner.

2. Curiosity. People are normally curious about authorsand how they write, or how they got their book published.Tell them about your journey with all this. For the wanta-be or gonna-be writers there because their vision includeswhat you are doing, give them that feedback. It createsimmediate connection. Even if they didn't come not to buyyour book, usually they will change their mind, just becauseyou settled their curiosity.

3. Entertainment. Yes, you need to be entertaining.People do want that and they stick around (meaning theydon't get up and walk out) if they get it. Show energy, usehand gestures, and please stop reading from the page (numberone pet peeve). Over and over again, I saw people leavewhen the author continued to read his presentation from thepage. People don't expect perfection. They had a heavyweek, or day, and they want some way to lighten it up. Evenif your book is a heavy topic, lighten it up. Comicalanecdotes about yourself are great!

4. Oh, the old, "what's in it for me" discussion. What arethe benefits for them to read the book? Is there someinformation that will help shift their thinking on anything?Use testimonials, ones that have some meat on their bones.Yes, you may need to make some assumptions on where theaudience is at. Go ahead and do that. Create a few thatcover a wider perspective and it will deliver to a wideraudience.

5. There is nothing wrong with encouraging more sales. Whoelse might be interested in the book. Their boss, friends,sister, who? Go ahead, give gift ideas. What holidays orevents can you tie the book to? Is Christmas, Mother's Daycoming up? Tie your topic and the holiday together if youcan. Mention the type of people who like to read this sortof book. No, don't say everyone and anybody. This issometimes hard for authors because they attach it to"selling." Drum roll...heaven forbid...selling. When anaudience is so enthralled in a book and its story, theirmind isn't on buying two books. They walk out with one andthen when turning page three or five, a flash appears,"Ooops, I should have bought one for my boss." I guaranteeyou that it is very unlikely they will return to thebookstore to buy another copy at that point.

6. Do some things where you make extra connections with theaudience. Just don't sit behind the table. Stand up, shakehands -- no limp ones either, and look them directly in theeyes when you ask them, "Who would you like me make this outto?" Ask if they would like another book made out tosomeone else?

Here's a SECRET tip. It makes a BIG connection. TheJapanese do this all the time. Put down the pen. When youhand over the book, hold it cover up facing them with bothhands, present it to them slowly, purposely, as if it'sworth a million dollars and a very special gift. Look deepinto their eyes at the same time (okay this part isdifferent than the Japanese), and say silently in your heartand in your voice, "Thank you." Watch them light up. Ofcourse, smile.

7. As mentioned earlier, audiences come with a hiddenagenda -- to have a good time. To enjoy themselves. Createthat space of joy and lightness for them. Don't think youdon't have any control. The store wants you to succeed.Share with them what type of experience you want theaudience to have. Ask for recommendations, ask for thingsthat haven't been done before too. Give inspiration inlanguage, in thoughts, and in stories. Stories that pullsthe heart strings. If there isn't one in the book, findone.

8. There is nothing wrong with giving away a trinket, toy,item, that comes from one of the characters. Or even itisn't directly and just somewhat related. You don't need tospend lots of money on promotional items. Think. Thismight require approval by the host store. You will usuallyfind that as long as it usually doesn't cost them anythingand it increases book sales, they will encourage it. Give agift if they buy two or three copies. Find a unique magnet,or something funny, something that doesn't cost much but itjust ads to the incentive to buy more than one. Sometimesthe book store is returning something and can give you aremainder sale price. Ask.

9. You can't say thank you too many times. Remember tosmile, say thank you, and be there with a loving and openheart. This creates an attractive energy and pulls peopletowards you.

10. Share tidbits about how the idea of the book came toyou. Did you write 15 minutes a day, a certain word count?Did you get help from others, who? Did you struggle withsome part or something? Was there someone there for youthat inspired your journey? Please not the spouse commentall the time. To singles this is boring and people said aturnoff. Share tidbits about your childhood. There is achild in all of us. Share your childhood with youraudience. Especially funny screw-ups.

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning what audiences want atbook signings. This process was definitely an eye-openerfor me. It gave me a real taste of people and theirexpectations. Maybe another future survey would be to getpeople to tell me why are they leaving early.

Copyright 2004, Catherine Franz. All rights reserved.

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internetwriting and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.comblog: http://abundance.blogs.com

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