After painstaking months of hard work, your book is finally ready for self-publishing. Ideas of grandeur might fill your imagination. You envision hoards of online shoppers jamming the bookseller’s digital platform. You imagine your book sales graph to spike to the heavens hours after the book goes live.

Well, hold your horses. Yes, it is a fait accompli to complete a book project, but never lose sight of perspective. Thousands of other indie authors also launch their books on any given day, and all of us are swimming in a very densely populated pond. Now, it becomes all about helping people discover your book.

A book signing is a fun way to promote your new book. Indie author book signings allow you to build some local buzz about your book, and, of course, to sell copies. But how do you do a book signing? Read on to learn all about how to set up a book signing.

What You Need Before Your Book Signing Event

People truly enjoy meeting authors in person, and authors enjoy meeting readers. Book signings have always been a fun way to connect with prospective readers and to chat up your most recent book release. Whether you scored a book signing at Barnes and Noble or a spot at your local bookstore, let’s take a look at how to set up a book signing and start planning your big event.

Before you ever take your place behind that display table, there are several details to attend to in order to get a book signing event. Good planning is key to the success of any book signing event. Follow these steps to be well prepared for your big event:

  • Have a polished book. Nothing will blow up your marketing efforts like a poorly edited book. Do not skip this important step on the way to self-publishing your book.
  • Reach out a few months in advance of your target date. Contact the venue at least 3-6 months prior to your desired date. Retailers create their calendars far in advance.
  • Ask the venue if they will be providing the books. Some bookstores will provide books as long as they can return the unsold copies. Others may ask you to provide your own books and request a portion of the sales, such as 20%.
  • Order promotional items. Order a banner, a tabletop easel poster, and any swag you will need at the event. Make sure your flyers or poster note “Local Author,” as this will attract more interest.
  • Order business cards. Order business cards to have available on the table, and be sure to include your social media contact information on them.
  • Create buzz on your social media platforms and website. Drum up interest on your Facebook author page by creating a post announcing the book-signing event. You can also create a Facebook Event and send out invites. If you are planning several book signings, be sure to post a schedule on your website.
  • Reach out to friends and family members. Send out invites to friends and relatives, asking them to come out and support you at your book signing.

As you learn how to do a book signing, it will soon become evident that these preparatory steps will pay off when the big day comes.

What You Need During Your Book Signing Event

All your planning and preparations are about to pay off. On the day of the event, business casual attire is appropriate. If you are wearing heels, pack some flats just in case your feet get weary. Get a good night’s sleep the night before the event. On the day of your book signing event, keep this checklist handy for smooth sailing:

  • Bring all promo materials, displays, business cards, and book stock.
  • Bring a couple of nice pens.
  • A candy dish is a nice touch.
  • Bring some sticky notes for customers to write out their names for you.
  • Bring water, light snacks, and breath mints.
  • Wear a nametag.
  • If you are offering a free giveaway, set up the contest.

Be sure to smile, engage folks in chitchat, and enjoy yourself. Get plenty of photos that you can later use on your social media outlets. Consider collecting email addresses to build up your follower base and keep readers up to date on your upcoming releases through future email campaigns.

What You Need After Your Book Signing Event

Hopefully, your book signing was a resounding success. As you wrap up your book signing event, remember to:

  • Thank the staff at the bookstore that graciously hosted you.
  • Follow up with a handwritten thank-you note a week later.
  • Clean up your work area.
  • Post photos on your social media.

Yes, a book signing can involve a lot of preparation and time, but it is a great way to refine your messaging about your book, build up your confidence as an author, and simply sell books.

Before Your Book Signings, You’ll Need Book Distribution

When wondering how to set up a book signing, it is important to understand that your book must be available through a wholesale distributor. A full-service publishing company like Gatekeeper Press can provide book design, editing, cover design, and wholesale distribution. Reach out to us today!

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