Friday, May 9, 2008

Author’s Book Event Tips

Our author Mark Wilensky recently had a great, standing-room-only book signing at Tattered Cover in Denver for his new book The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine. Mark put together a list of helpful tips and suggestions which I am including below as a guest post. Thanks Mark!

Guest Post by Author Mark Wilensky:

Here are some suggestions that I found useful when planning and presenting at my recent book signing:

1. I was fortunate to have my signing at a well known and busy store. I felt it was very important to visit the location a couple of weeks before the event, to get acquainted with the space I would be presenting in. I didn’t want to feel surprised or panicked by my environment on the day of the event.

2. Second, I tried to invite as many people as I knew, but I also made sure that I let everyone I invited know that there were no expectations to buy anything. Just having the positive energy of people I knew would help the event tremendously. I also knew they would talk about the book, or me, in constructive ways with others in the crowd (kind of my own PR crew). As it turned out, most everyone bought the book as well.

3. I used an on-line invitation service. (See previous post here.) Not only could I keep track of how many people could and could not come, I was always able to add more invitations with a few clicks. Best part of the service? Those I invited could forward the invitation and invite others as well. I didn’t realize this when I originally sent the invitations, but in the future I will include a couple of sentences asking people to forward the invitation to people they know as well.

4. Next, on the day of the event, I arrived about 45 minutes early. I wanted to talk with people as they arrived. I was able to get to know who was going to be in my audience, and it also gave the people who I knew an opportunity for me to meet their guests as well. It was definitely more powerful for me to speak to people who I had already spent a few moments getting to know and thank for coming.

5. I didn’t try to change who I was on stage. I am a teacher, and I have lots of teacher mannerisms. Part of being a classroom teacher is using props, and I brought several. Additionally, teachers present material to people with different learning styles. With props, I could present auditorally and visually. Moreover, I printed out activities off my book’s website and passed them out. By doing this, you are also teaching kinesthetically (hands on). These different styles used together keep almost an entire audience’s attention.

6. I also took the time to really thank the bookstore for allowing me to present there. I spent some time in advance researching the store so that my gratitude was genuine and specific. I have been to other author book signings that were very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. So I know that bookstores put a little piece of their reputation on the line with an unknown or new author. I really wanted this to be a win-win event. I’m guessing if the store likes your presentation, the employees might continue to hand sell copies of your book to future customers.

7. During the question and answer period, I made sure I thanked or complimented everyone on their questions. It is not an easy thing for most people to raise their hands and ask questions.

8. With every inscription, I included the date, and the book’s business card. My hopes are that the business card finds its way to new customers.

Visit The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine website here.

1 comment:

Colt Foutz said...

Great advice, Mark. And good luck with the book!

Colt Foutz, author
Building the Green Machine:
Don Warren and Sixty Years with the World Champion Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps

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