My Daughter Wants To Do a Signing! How Should I Approach My Local Bookstore?

My Daughter Wants To Do a Signing! How Should I Approach My Local Bookstore?


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.




Hi T.W.,

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:

How to Sell Books on Consignment to Bookstores and Other Retailers

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.



Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

Are Book Signings Big Book Sellers? Not Usually

How My Bookstore Signings Led to a Traditional Publishing Contract and Film Consideration!

HOW TO SELL OUT AT BOOK SIGNINGS! What’s the Most Important Tool in Your Arsenal?

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2 Responses to "My Daughter Wants To Do a Signing! How Should I Approach My Local Bookstore?"

  1. Wendy Lou Jones  September 30, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Before the year 2000, book signings at major and minor stores were great!
    I personally had 52 signings and in most cases sold out (25 -100 copies). The stores use to order the book in then stand back and watch me do a one-minute act and they sold.
    But after the year 2000, no store wanted to order a book in that was not returnable.
    Do not fall for that gimmick — I learned the hard way.

    If the store is willing to let you do a book signing, ask questions up front about how they want to handle obtaining the books, and be prepared to hear, “ bring them yourself, and we will take a percentage of the sales”.

    Count yourself lucky that a major chain store will even let you do a signing under their roof — if the book is POD.

  2. pamelaallegretto  September 22, 2016 at 11:57 am

    This article is chock-full of great advise, as is W.W. Brock’s attached article.