One Recipe for Success

The ingredients: An author, a new book, and a desire to promote the book.

Book Signing for Blog

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.

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Publicity Stunts

No author aims for obscurity. After all, an author or book that is hidden from the public view won’t sell.

swim

On the other hand, some authors are really good at grabbing attention and the public eye. Take, for example, Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project.

Jaimal recently swam 2.4 miles in the chilly San Francisco Bay, the entire length of the Bay Bridge between Yerba Buena Island and the Embarcadero, to his book signing. Yep, you heard that right. After swimming, Jaimal climbed out of the water and signed books at the Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building.

I don’t know how many people showed up to his book signing, but I am sure more people came then would have if he had not pulled this publicity stunt. After all, the stunt caught the attention of the media, which is what every author wants.

Consider what you can do for publicity next time you are arranging a book signing. Don’t just show up and sign. Think of something that ties into your book to attract attention. Swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean may not be your thing, but maybe you could ride in on a motorcycle, or host a demonstration, or bring costumed characters with you.

Your publicity stunt may not be as big as Jaimal Yogis’, but don’t let that stop you. Get creative and come up with some type of attention grabber for your next book signing event!

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