Book signings intimidate me.

Hello my darlings,

As I search for more and more creative ways to promote The Dragon’s Disciples and The Heretic Priest, I find myself running into the same roadblock over and over again. There are countless sites where you can list your book (especially if it is .99 cents), and then there are the bookmarks, the business cards, the website, and the t-shirts. (I have already spent way more than I should on this endeavor).

But what about promoting your in-print book? These options seem more limited. Granted, I have been fortunate enough to have to the opportunity to stock my books as consignment in an on-campus store (now all of the connections I make on my college campus I can refer to that store for a copy, and it is more convenient than Amazon).

Other options? I haven’t found very many. I keep reading that book signings are an excellent form of print copy promotion. And indeed, I would never have discovered one of my favorite authors if my aunt hadn’t happened upon her book signing one day and picked up a copy of The Fool’s Path for me. But I am afraid of book signings because I am afraid of abject humiliation, which would surely occur should the following transpire…

  1. No one cares.
  2. I found myself sitting alone a table wondering why everyone is staring at me.

Surely, that is a fear we all face? I would love to do a joint signing with another fantasy author. So in other words … if there are any fantasy authors in the Greensboro / Raleigh, NC area who would like to collaborate with me on this event, feel free to let me know!

Other than that, I might donate a few books to my favorite thrift shops. Circulation, circulation, circulation.

Your most adored,

C.N.F.

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7 thoughts on “Book signings intimidate me.

  1. What’s worked for me at book signings is to prepare your elevator pitch, then smile at everyone who comes in the door and ask “do you like fantasy/horror/murder mysteries?” Most of them will say no, and a few may even mumble excuses. But a few will stop to chat.

    Keep in mind your target audience, and try to say hi to anyone who looks likely.

    Prepare a few follow-ups, like “I’m a local author,” “my publisher is located in town,” and “what books to you like?” Or perhaps why you self-published (if it applies).

    Thank them for stopping to talk, even if they pass on your book.

    Consider having a list where people can write down e-mails if they want your announcements.

    It helps to have some interesting props on your table if possible. Avoid candy, though; I’ve several times been chastised by parents for “giving that to their child.”

    • It sounds a lot less scary in those terms, that’s some awesome advice! Rather than candy, maybe some good quality bookmarks and a tiny, memorable item related to the book? I was thinking of small plastic vials of “blood” as something fun (since you know, vampires).

      Also … any advice as to the best time of year to host such an event? I was thinking of December as a good time, considering the Christmas season. But then again, campus is usually a ghost town around then.

      • Ah, good question. Call now to make arrangements with book stores for your signings. They fill their calendars for November and December quickly, because Christmas shopping goes on.

        I have had signings as early as Hallowe’en for my third novel, The Necromancer’s Bones, but it didn’t do well even though TNB had a spooky theme. The very best weekend is Thanksgiving weekend. But if you are a student yourself, and you want to sign in a campus bookstore at your school, that’s a great angle (fellow student publishes novel!). Kids may go home on Thanksgiving weekend, so try for early December, before Winter Break.

  2. An independent book store is your best bet. Many of them have a schedule of signings and readings to get traffic coming in. If you have a Hastings store in your area, I’ve had good luck arranging signings there. The store managers have more independence to hold events than B&N seems to do.

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