Book Signing Tips

The book signing, like so many other elements of the publishing industry, is evolving into something new, different, and better. Gone are the days when authors can sit at a bookstore table and sign book after book. That still works for Sarah Palin, but not the rest of us.

So what does work? How do you make sure your book signing isn’t a waste of time for you and the store? Here are six tips for planning an event that will sell books and leave you and your host smiling.

1. Don’t approach a bookstore to discuss a signing unless you’ve written your book for a wide consumer audience. Many bookstores won’t host signings when it’s clear that it’s a niche book with a narrow audience. Ask yourself if there’s a better place to meet your target audience face-to-face.

2. Plan an event, not a book signing. You want to engage your audience, whether your book is fiction or nonfiction. When Marcia Layton Turner did a book signing event at her local Barnes & Noble for The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vision Boards, she didn’t sit at a table near the entrance. Turner taught store customers how to create vision boards with provided materials. “I shared the book’s message and showed how to apply it,” she says.

3. Consider non-bookstore locations. Go where you’ll find your audience – and it might not be at a bookstore. Be creative – if your book is a vegetarian cookbook, schedule an event at a natural foods market or the produce section of a supermarket. Your new mystery takes place at a museum? Talk to the most popular museum in your area about hosting a presentation and signing. When Irene Levine introduced her community to Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, Levine’s launch party/book was held where girlfriends often gather – a hair salon.

4. Market to warm. Are you an active member of a supportive group? Jackie Dishner, author of the regional travel book Back Roads and Byways of Arizona, sold more than 60 books at the weekly meeting of her businesswomen’s group. She kept members informed of her progress as she researched and wrote her first book, so they welcomed the opportunity to celebrate its publication with her. Do you belong to a similar group that might support you?

5. Do your share to get the word out. Don’t expect your event host to do all the promotional work – collaborate so you reach as many people as possible. Contact the press, send an e-mail to locals in your address book and ask them to forward it, and use social networking tools such as Facebook events and Twitter to spread the word.

6. Don’t just sign your name. When I sign copies of my humor book about men, WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN?, I write the person’s first name, add “It’s all true!” and sign my name. For Publicity for Nonprofits, I use “I’ll see you in the news!” People like that additional touch because it feels more personal.

Be prepared to invest time. Planning, promoting, and executing a successful book signing takes time, thought, and effort. It will all be worth it, though, as you watch those cases of books under your table empty and your hand gets tired from writing with your favorite pen.

Writing Tips: How to Write A Book Jacket Cover

Even the greatest story on the shelf in a bookstore can’t sell itself without eye-catching packaging. It’s one of the saddest truth’s in book sales. Book marketing is a growing business, and most publishers have staff devoted to book design above and beyond the editorial team, including graphic designers, cover artists, and copywriters.

Typically, a copywriter will create the text that appears on the paperback cover or book jacket. A copywriter may either be on the staff at the publishing house, or the publisher may contract out, or outsource, to freelance copywriters. Either way, it’s the job of the copywriter to craft a paragraph or two about your book that will sell it to readers.

Otherwise, and this too occurs more often within larger publishing houses, an overworked and underpaid editorial assistant may be tasked with crafting your book jacket copy. This is often viewed as an onerous task and is obviously less than ideal; while editors (and editorial assistants) are useful in helping to shape and enhance your story, they may not have the necessary ‘sales writing’ skills to entice the reader to purchase your book on the shelf.

So, while most of the time you may not be writing your own book jacket copy, it’s still important for any writer to be able to do so. Here’s why:

1. This provides you with the chance to concisely sum up your manuscript and re-examine the story – it’s like going through a copy edit of the plot.

2. It allows you to make sure you’ve been writing towards your target audience, OR it can help you to determine the target audience for your book.

3. If you’re sending query letters out to publishers with hopes of selling your manuscript, you’ll essentially have to write a paragraph to pitch your idea anyway.

Finally, once your dream publisher has picked up your book, you’ll be able to ensure that the copy your book jacket receives is the copy it deserves. Come back next week and I’ll discuss tips on how to craft top-notch book jacket copy that will have readers grabbing your books off the shelves.

Keep in mind that while you may try to design and format your book jacket cover on your own, there are professional editors who will do it for you. An experienced editor will create a professionally written book jacket cover that will capture your audience’s attention. This is succinct copy that sends a strong message about your writing.

Online Writing – How Can You Earn More Money?

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to online writing. Most of the newbies to this career see those jobs offering a dollar for five hundred words, and while they might work for that amount to start with (just to get some experience) they soon want to build up and earn more for their hard work.

And why not? Every writer should earn what they are worth, and the better you get the more money you should be able to bring in.

So how do you earn more from online writing? The trick is to raise the bar. If you have been writing for a dollar for 500 words, you need to start dismissing those jobs from now on. Think about this for a moment – if you spend time considering whether or not to apply for those low paid gigs, you won’t be able to spend as much time looking for higher paid jobs.

You need to get into the habit of only considering higher paid jobs in the online writing world. And you’ll find – as I did – that as soon as you raise that bar in your own mind, you’ll start finding other jobs that you can apply for.

There is another tactic to remember here too, and it works in conjunction with the first trick I mentioned above. This is all about numbers. You need to apply for as many higher paid writing jobs as you can. The more you apply for the better the chance is of actually winning more of them.

It can be depressing to think about the percentage rate of winning jobs to losing them. Some writers have mentioned winning around ten per cent of everything they apply for. Now if you think that it is depressing losing a full 90% of the jobs you go for, you need to think of it in a different way.

For every ten jobs you go for, you’ll win around one. So if you want to get two writing jobs you’ll have to go for twenty in total. Get the idea? Think in terms of what you need to do to win the number of online writing jobs you actually want to get.

As you can see, your own frame of mind can have a big effect on how much writing work you get. And the more you get the more money you will earn. And of course, you now know that if you raise that bar a bit higher you will be bringing in more money before you know it.