10 Simple Ways to Have a Smashingly Successful Book Signing!

I recently had a local book signing to launch my second book, The Doctor’s Lady. I don’t do many booksignings. In the digital, social media, internet-loving, modern age, readers just don’t flock to book signings the way they used to. So most authors nowadays tend to limit how much traveling they do and instead of book tours we have blog tours (check out my Events Page for where I’ll be around cyberland!).

But . . . I did have one signing at the small independent Christian bookstore in my town. Although I don't have the space to post pictures of everyone that came to my signing, I'm plastering a few in this post because I love my local friends so much! They’ve become some of my biggest supporters and encouragers. THANK YOU!!

Sarah & Leah Hickman

Karen Lehman
Carrie & Maddie Bouma
Erin Aspiranti

Jessie Watson & her sweet daughter
Marilyn Schubert & Molly Black

In preparing for this latest signing, here are 10 simple things I did to make it a smashing success:

1. Relax and have fun. Yes, I know, that’s easier said than done!

2. Take the focus off yourself & put it on the reader. Go into the day looking for ways to bless others (that helps immensely to calm the nerves!).

3. Wear a name tag that says “Author” somewhere very visible. That prevents customers from asking you where the bathroom is.

4. Send out personal invitations prior to the big day. This is one of the best ways to make sure you have a steady stream of visitors.

5. Be prepared with a couple of different “signing” notes. I like to write a little note to the reader when I sign the book. Ahead of time, I write up several types of encouraging notes to include, usually something that fits with the theme or message of the book.

6. Gather an email list if possible for your newsletter. Some authors put out a clipboard for readers to sign. Others use slips of paper along with drawings.

Morgan & Janel Gradowski
7. Have giveaways. Before this particular signing, the bookstore staff ran a promotion offering a free copy of my first book, The Preacher’s Bride, to anyone who emailed the announcement of the signing to seven friends. I was able to obtain books from my publisher for the giveaways.

8. Make each contact with a reader personal. Find out their name. Introduce yourself. Shake hands. Spend a minute or two (if possible) chatting and asking them questions.

Dan & Becky Barnes
9. Have goodies and/or promotional items for readers to take. I had bookmarks, postcards, and magnets that had to do with both of my books. And of course I had a bowl of candy!

10. Mingle if possible. I love being able to get up, walk around, hug friends, and take pictures. We’re not condemned to remain behind our tables the whole time! Of course I did have lines at times and didn’t have the luxury of mingling too long with any one person, but I still wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciated them and their visit.

There you have it! Do you have any other book signing tips? Please share! And tell me, do you still like book signings? Or do you think they’re a thing of the past?


WIN a copy of The Doctor's Lady at one of these blog tour stops!

Monday 9/5: SIX book giveaways at my critique partner Keli Gwyn's blog! (And learn a little bit more about our critique partnership.) (Also pick up Contest Puzzle Piece #2 there!)

Monday 9/5: Swing by My Book Addiction & More blog and find out how long it took me to write The Doctor's Lady!

Tuesday 9/6: On Lacie Nezbeth's blog, find out what possession I would have a hard time leaving behind if I were traveling West in a covered wagon.

And don't forget to enter my BE A TRAILBLAZER Contest!

Enter the Be A Trailblazer Contest!

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  1. These are great tips! I have a signing coming up...must implement.

  2. Good morning, Jody! I was pleasantly surprised to find a post from you this morning. This is great info. I find book signings to be a lot of fun. You get to meet and hear a lot of great thing about the authors. There are some really fun KY authors that get together for group signings every once in a while. A group of us actually got together with them for dinner before the signing once. Lots of fun.

    I'll be posting my 5-star review of The Doctor's Lady later today. I can't recommend this book enough to everyone. Even for readers who aren't sure they like historical fiction will love this story.

  3. Bookmarked this!

    You've seriously done a phenomenal job promoting your book!

    Love the pictures, love your involvement, and I love the way you treat marketing. I meant treat, because you give it care and dedicated attention.

    ~ Wendy

  4. Good morning, ladies! Appreciate your kind words so bright and early!

    You're right, Heather--I don't usually post on holidays! But I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a "picture post" and put my friends into the spotlight! And thanks for writing a review!! I'll look forward to seeing it later!

    Hope you each have a wonderful Labor Day!

  5. So glad your book signing went well! I just ordered my book launch party invitations. Since we no longer have a bookstore in town, I'm holding my party at our church. I've learned a lot of "what to do" from reading your post! Thanks so much!

  6. Call me old-fashioned, but I like book signings. I look forward to meeting readers face-to-face.

    Since my debut novel takes place in the Gold Country of California where I live, I plan to hold signings throughout the area. I'll be doing many of the things on your list. In my case, though, those who show up will know I'm not an employee because I'll be wearing a Victorian gown like the one the heroine in my historical romance wears. =)

  7. You look like you're having such a great time. How fun!

  8. How great to see how much fun you had doing this!

  9. I was so happy to be able to come to your signing! I'm glad you had a wonderful day. I was so excited for you to see a line stretching along the back of the store when I arrived. Everybody was waiting to see you!!

  10. Hi:

    Thanks for the tips on having a good book signing. I am the author of 4 children's books in a series called "My Hare Line". The series is about my real live bunnies. I am also doing more social marketing than book signings. My 4th book will be released October 11, 2011, and I am trying to decide what to do to launch this book. I appreciate your suggestions.

  11. Hi Jody -

    Congrats on the launch of The Doctor's Lady. I can't wait to pick up a copy. :)

    Have you ever thought of putting all these gems into a practical guide for writers?


  12. Thank you for your warm congrats, everyone! And it was really wonderful to see you and your daughter there, Janel! I really enjoyed the time!

    Susan, thank you for your sweet words about putting together a practical writing book. I love that idea! Maybe an ebook someday? We'll see! :-)

  13. Jody, thanks for the pictures of the book signing. I especially enjoyed the mom-daughter pictures. What great way to share with granddaughter and daughters.

  14. This is wonderful, thank you so much for sharing this information with us. I'm taking notes... And I love the pictures!

  15. It looked a lovely setting. Congratulations.

  16. Jody
    It was a great book signing - actually my best so far,( I beat my previous record of sales by 3!) probably because you were there! :) Loved the pics you posted and the ideas. One thing I like to do when I'm at signings and there are lulls is to walk around and hand out my bookmarks to potential customers. Sometimes in the large stores they don't realize you are there. I "amen" your idea about putting the focus on the readers who come, I try to pray before the event that I'll bless someone in some way. Thanks again for your helpful blog. Barb Hagler

  17. Jody, these tips are so great, I'm tweeting this post ASAP.

  18. Great tips and fun pictures! :O)

  19. My big signing is coming up in October and there's a few things on here I hadn't thought of. Thank you! :)

  20. Those are great tips and congratulations on the new book. I hope its a smashing success.

  21. I remember going to several book signings when my son was in elelmentary school. They were fun local field trips. I don't hear of too many book signings these days. Our local library used to have book signings/author readings and I haven't heard about anything like that lately either.

  22. Great tips, Jody! I especially like the one about creating different signing notes. I noticed certain authors did this at ACFW last year, and a couple of them still make me chuckle. :)

  23. What a great signing! Love the pictures.

    Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  24. Sounds like you had a great time, Jody! And it's fun to see pictures of you with more of your readers. :-)

  25. Jody,

    My first book releases in February and this is the part I am most nervous about! Thank you for sharing these tips...they are so helpful! :)

  26. Hi Courtney!!
    Thanks for stopping by today and commenting on a couple of my recent posts! Is great to hear from you! I wish you all the best in the release of your first book in February! It's exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, isn't it? I found that I was less nervous with this recent book signing. So it does eventually get a little easier! :-)

  27. I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! The last few weeks have been deadline hell, but my desk now is clear and I'm footloose and fancy free. And I've got a pile of saved posts from you to hit, so here comes a bunch of comments! ;)

    Thanks for the tips. If I'm lucky enough to get this far, this post will come in very handy, so I'm definitely saving it. I'm so glad that you had a great book launch!


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