This week, Amy Gail Hansen (author of the chick-lit mystery, The Butterfly Sister) is writing about how to plan and execute a successful book signing. Read about her biggest book-signing-related fear in Part 1 and her first four tips in Part 2.
5) I enlisted the help of friends and family: My sister is a hairdresser and I gave her a stack of the postcards to hand out to her clients as they sat in her chair. My mother invited people. My mother-in-law invited people. I sent a handful of postcards to friends who had already RSVP’d and asked them invite their close friends. Many of the people who came to my events came as the guest of someone I knew. People brought their sister, their mother, or their best friend with them. And when it comes to book signings, the more is definitely the merrier.
This may sound like an awful lot of work—and it was—but it all was worth it. I was never embarrassed at the turnout, not to mention the number of books sold. People are often surprised by how much foot work I had to do, despite being published by HarperCollins, a major publisher. “Don’t you have a publicist?” they usually ask. Yes, I have a publicist, whose job is to help promote my book in the media. But it is not his job to send personal notes to my best friend from junior high school and my second cousins on my mom’s side.
I know with each book, and with increased readership, I won’t have to work quite as hard to get people to come. When you have name recognition, people just show up, even if they don’t know you personally. (And they come in the hundreds. I know because I’ve been to signings for authors like Wally Lamb, Jodi Picoult, and Elizabeth Berg).
I’m so not there yet, but I promise if I ever do get there, I will never forget the friendly faces—my family and friends, people who knew me in grade school and high school, my former teachers, and even my USPS letter carrier—who came to my book signings when no one had ever heard of me.