My 8-year-old daughter is an author. She has received a lot of coverage in our city since April when she was featured in the newspaper, and given the opportunity to be a weekly guest columnist. She was also interviewed by the local news, which was aired across the state.
We are preparing her for a book signing. My question is, if we do the book signing at (a large, nationwide bookstore), are we to order the books for that day, or does the store order the books for that day? Also, I would need some step by step tips to have a great book signing.
You’ll need to contact that particular store to see how they want to handle the signing. They’ll either want to order copies from the publisher or distributor, or they might want to order copies from you on consignment. See:
Before you contact them, be prepared with a promotional kit, which will include a copy of the book, an excellent, tantalizing description of the book, and, most importantly, photocopies (or print-outs) of the local news stories. The store will probably want to promote the young, local celebrity if she’s going to be on-site for a signing.
I spoke with attorney Harvey Randall about child authors working for profit and he said, “You might also want to check with the Child Protective Agency and Labor Department in your jurisdiction as such an activity could be deemed a business operation. Further, you and/or your child hopefully will be earning tax-reportable income as a result of her writing efforts and appearances which may result in her having to file federal and state income tax returns. For example, in Florida, minors under the age of 14 may not work at all unless they obtain an exemption.”
We’ll be featuring and article on this topic by Harvey next week, which will go into far more detail on this topic.
Whatever you do, don’t expect a book signing to be a cash cow. Book signings are increasingly disappointing (with regards to book sales) and many authors won’t do signings anymore. With dwindling brick and mortar stores (and, subsequently, face-to-face sales), and with the unfair terms bookstores demand (a 55%-65% discount and the right to return unsold copies), bookstore sales just aren’t that appetizing to authors anymore, especially since they can sell far more copies, with a lot less effort, sitting at home on their laptop.
Some authors like book signings because, hey, they do stoke the ego and, if handled correctly, they can sell a few copies. But, other authors, like me, prefer to promote their books online only. I, personally, don’t like the pomp and circumstance of in-person appearances, regardless how large or small. I did that for awhile and it turned out to be a LOT more trouble than it was worth.
The exception is W.W. Brock. That guy sells out of his books all the time! Click HERE to read how he does it.
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