The ingredients: An author, a new book, and a desire to promote the book.
The venue: A local book store.
The event: A book signing.
The outcome: Success!
So reports Lewis Ben Smith, the author of a new novel called The Testimonium. Lewis’ book was published by a small royalty press. However, as with any type of book publishing, much of the marketing is left to the author. Lewis ordered an initial 100 books from his publisher. Then he set out to sell these.
Wanting to hold a book signing, Lewis approached local book stores. Family Christian was not very accommodating; they told him he had to go through their corporate offices to set up a signing at one of their stores. Sadly, this is not an unusual response from a Christian book store (see “Embracing Change”). When he visited his local Hastings store, he discovered they have a corporate policy to encourage and work with local authors. The store was happy to arrange a book signing for Lewis.
Knowing that having a book signing was not sufficient in and of itself to draw in customers, Lewis set about promoting his event. He sent an email blast to all his contacts, he heavily promoted it on his Facebook page and on all the Internet forums and chat rooms he belongs to. In addition, he got the local newspaper to run and blurb. Then he printed up fliers and passed these out.
His efforts paid off. Lewis reports that he sold almost 50 copies of his book at his book signing. The store also asked him to leave them a dozen or so copies to sell later.
The Lesson: Book signings are not dead. They just take effort and a willingness to promote, promote, promote.