Turn Marketing Your Book into an Event
Book signings offer you the chance to gain valuable face time with your readers
Concentrating locally is a great way to start marketing your book. But what do you do when you want to expand your reach to an audience beyond your family, friends, neighbors and community? Book signings are a great opportunity for authors to connect face-to-face with book lovers, and to get their titles in front of a new group of readers.
“Authors are the experts on their books. If you look at the book as a business, they are the number one salesperson for the product,” said Jessica May, assistant events manager for Author Solutions. “By having a presence at an event like the LA Times Festival of Books, authors can make sure that the people receiving their books get the right sales pitch.”
Each year, the AuthorHouse team travels to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, where authors have the opportunity to make an impact and gain new readers by drawing from a pool of more than 100,000 attendees during the two days of the event.
K.D. Brogdon, author of the historical novel The Panamanian Princess, was one of several authors who saw firsthand the potential marketing power of a book signing.
Author K.D. Brogdon signs copies of his book,
The Panamanian Princess, for readers at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April 2010.
“I started out Saturday morning not knowing what to expect. My books, pens and even a bottle of water were ready and at my disposal when I arrived,” said Brogdon. “Just a few minutes into the event, I found that my table was being converged upon by many readers seeking my book. At one point, attendees were four-wide, five-deep in a line that ran past the next booth. I signed over 160 books for men, women and teens. I was surprised at the amount of attention AuthorHouse drew from the attendees.”
If you can’t manage to make the trip to participate in a book signing, a book gallery at one of these special book-marketing events is a great alternative, or a great complement to a book signing.
“In looking around the entire event, that featured several different publishers and many different genres, I believe of all the publishers, that AuthorHouse was the best organized and drew the most attention from the attendees,” said Brogdon.
Book signings not only give you the chance to target readers who get a copy of your book signed, but you also have the opportunity to generate valuable word-of-mouth buzz and a post-festival sales boost by handing out promotional materials such as personalized bookmarks.
“Fantastic! That’s all I can say. I got there before the scheduled signing, but people were already lined up for the books,” said Chris B. Malahay, author of The Bible’s Answers to the Sabbath Question. “The marketing materials seemed to attract like a magnet.”
Of course, a trip to LA isn’t the only way you can market your book; and you certainly don’t have to wait until next year’s festival comes around again. There are book signings and book galleries throughout the year and around the world. And with such a variety of events, research is essential.
Festival-goers stop by author Tina C. Bryer's book signing to check out copies of her book, Jack and the Powerful Seven: The Secret Strength from Within.
“Each event has a little bit of a different flavor, just like every author has different goals for their book,” said May. “For example, one author may want their book to be on every elementary school bookshelf in the country. In this case, a library show would be the best avenue. Another may want their book made into a movie. An event like the LA Times event would be a good place for this author. Just like authors are the experts on their books, they must become the expert on what markets to tap.”
May added that there is no time like the present to promote your book, but she warned not to put all your eggs in one basket: “Events are great ways to promote a book, but to really have an impact with marketing, authors should look at a multi-marketing strategy.”