Quick Tips for Hosting a Successful Booksigning By Martha Reed

The more thought you put into your book-signing the greater the chance of profitable results. At my last signing, I sold all 100 copies I’d arrived with. Angela asked me to share my hints with WritersWeekly.com readers. Here are quick tips for turning your next book-signing into a successful event.


  • Mail invitations at least three weeks in advance. Print 3-1/2 X 5-inch invitations at a local copy center on brightly-colored cardstock. Be sure to hand-write a message like “See you on Wednesday!” on each one. Mail an invitation to everyone you can think of – no one is too far-fetched! Diversity is a good thing.
  • Contact the local newspaper office at least three weeks in advance and offer an interview. Send the reporter/reviewer an Advanced Reader’s Copy or sample chapter; offer to meet the photographer for coffee – a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Schedule the booksigning on a weeknight from 5-7 p.m. People get busy on the weekends but they can swing by after work – especially if you offer cheese and a glass of wine. Make it a party!
  • Bring plenty of books – sounds dumb, but the last thing you want is to run out of copies. Leave them boxed in the car if you have to, but have them on hand. Personally, I feel comfortable with 100 copies standing by. Also, remember to bring extra Sharpies to sign those copies with.
  • Ask friends and family to help out – and put them to work. One person can keep books stocked on the table while someone else is in charge of the money (if you’re the one processing the sales at that particular event). Your job is to sign books and make a connection with the next person/fan in line. Don’t get distracted by the business.
  • Connect with other local retailers and make the rounds in person. Now is not the time to get shy. Introduce yourself and explain what you’re doing. Print an 11×17, 4-color window placard with your cover and the book-signing information and ask them to hang the placard in their window. Think outside the box – I put a placard in a dentist’s office that resulted in four sales!

The Big Day

  • Schedule enough time to get ready – sounds basic, but you do not want to be tired, overwrought, or stressed. Show up an hour early, wear comfortable clothes, and plan on staying late. Don’t leave until everyone – and I mean everyone – has had a chance to buy a book, talk to you, earn a hug, or take a picture. This is where the gold is – in the goodwill of new and future fans.
  • Always give something back – a free bookmark listing your ISBN number and website, an individually wrapped piece of candy, a glass of wine. Your book is special, your fans are special. Let them know it!
  • Balloons add cheap, festive fun!
  • Take cash and/or personal checks. Be sure to bring enough change.
  • If someone in line mentions a book club, offer to speak at their next group meeting. This can lead to a large wholesale order.
  • Put out a guest book and ask for an address, then send a follow-up Thank You postcard including a reminder to post a review of your book with the online retailers. Every little bit helps.
  • Suggest an “after party” at the local watering hole. Folks will carry the buzz from your book-signing into the restaurant which may generate more sales – everyone wants to be part of the action. This is especially handy if you’ve roped in the restaurant ahead of time to serve a specialty cocktail or appetizer.

Don’t Forget to Follow Through

  • Send Thank You cards or flowers to your retail host, bookseller, reporters and photographers. This may generate a follow-up newspaper article, especially if your book-signing caused a scene!

Martha Reed was born on May 2, 1958. Currently, she resides in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals and her poetry online. Her Nantucket mystery novel, THE NATURE OF THE GRAVE, is available from Booklocker.com. Visit her Web site to preview samples of her work.