This week, guest blogger Amy Gail Hansen (author of the fabulous book, The Butterfly Sister) is writing about making your book signings a success whether it’s your first or your fiftieth. And Amy ought to know. She’s up to 15 signings and counting. Read about her worst fear when it came to book signings in Part 1.
So how did I get people to attend?
1) I booked events in areas where I actually know people: I didn’t go to New York or Los Angeles, but right where I live. All of my signings took place in either the Chicagoland area or Southern Wisconsin. That’s because my friends and family live here, and when you’re a debut author, those are the people who will come to your book signings. (See # 2 below.)
2) I focused on people I know or once knew: For my first signing, I actually handed out postcards on the street in the downtown area where the event would take place. And though this may have gotten my name out there, none of the 50 people to whom I handed a card came the night of the signing. And I learned a valuable lesson. Put your stock in people you know. Anyone who has a personal connection to you is much more likely to come to your book signing. These people are your bread and butter. Don’t waste your time luring strangers.
3) I relied heavily on Social Media: Facebook, mostly. I was able to find out which of my friends and acquaintances lived in specific cities and made up guest lists based on that information. I was amazed to learn how many people I knew in a given area. (Of course, I reached pretty far back into my past, inviting former co-workers, former classmates, and childhood friends.) I then set up events on my Facebook page and invited people via Facebook to these events.
4) I wrote a lot of personal notes: Once I completed invite lists, I e-mailed the people I knew best and asked them to come to my event. I took the time to write these people individually, one by one, not via a mass mailing. And I didn’t stop at just one note. A day or two before the event, I wrote personalized e-mail reminders to the people who had RSVP’d, saying, “I hope you can still make it!”
Tune in later this week for Amy’s final tip for a successful book signing.