First off, let me thank Liane for inviting me to guest blog on Novel Spaces. I am honored!
I’d like to talk about in-person book signings and why they are important to an author’s career. Not only are you promoting your current book, but you are promoting yourself as sort of a consumable commodity. ;)
Recently I visited Sherrilyn Kenyon during her book tour of Bad Moon Rising. This was the third individual signing for which I personally have been in attendance, and the fifth total I’ve seen her do, counting the two literacy signings at RWA Nationals. Each time I’ve seen more and more fans line up, dress up and put up their hard earned money for one of Sherrilyn’s awesome books – well worth the money, in case you haven’t read one of her masterpieces.
Yes, Sherrilyn writes amazing stories, but the question remains, would her fans be so devoted to her if she didn’t reach out to them in such a personal way? What do you suppose the odds are that a reader picked up one of her books because a fellow reader brought them along to one of Sherrilyn’s signings? I’d say, very likely. With readers, word of mouth beats any kind of advertising a writer could pay for.
Carol Ericson, an author of category romantic suspense, had this to say about book singing exposure: “. . . Book signings are good just to get your name out there . . . and get you picture on a poster in the book store . . .”
Part of Sherrilyn’s successful signings is that she takes time before the actual signing to talk to the crowd. She shares a bit about interesting things that have happened on the tour, she answers questions about what’s up for future characters, and she always has giveaway goodies — buttons, bookmarks, posters, postcards, etc. This time she gave away an ARC (advance reader's copy) of a book coming out in a few months. What a treasure for a devoted fan!
Trish Albright, a romantic adventure novelist, had this to say about what else to bring to your book signing: “ . . .Make sure you have something free to hand them that represents your book.” Skhye Moncrief, who writes fantasy/supernatural romance, likes to bring chocolate to her signings. She says with tongue in cheek: “Food draws them in.”
During my conversation with Sherrilyn, I asked her what her dream book tour would be:
"Anywhere the fans are, because it would suck if I was there by myself."
Still feeling too shy to do a book signing? Here’s something you may not know: Some readers are shy as well. How wonderful it is that the books we write can bring people together that would otherwise not have spoken to one another in a different situation.
I hope I've motivated you to do a signing, whether a single event or multiple city book tour, by yourself, or with a few other authors. And spread the word — market the heck out of the event — which I'm sure will be another blog for another time.
—Genella deGrey writes historical romance. She'd love for you to visit her website: www.genelladegrey.com