Welcome back to learn more about getting people to your book signing! Last week in Part 1, I discussed various locations where you can hold book signings (aside from the usual book stores), and how to effectively use flyers, postcards, and social media to help spread the word. Today I’m going to look at two other important avenues to help get the word out about your book signing. After all, if you can’t get people to come, you won’t sell any books! So, first things first:
1. Tell the media: Aside from using social media, don’t forget about traditional media. Newspapers, radio, and local magazines still exist! Spend some time researching what media outlets or community organizations have local calendars of events, and ask to get put on their calendar. In my city, our local newspaper has both a print and online calendar that anyone can get added to for free. These things are out there, so take advantage of them!
Again, think about your target readership and what calendars they may be looking at. If you just wrote a cookbook, maybe there are local or regional specialty stores where cooking enthusiasts shop. See if they have a calendar or bulletin board for cooking events. A store like this may even want to host your book signing!
Depending on the nature of your book, you can also talk to local papers about doing a PR article for you. Send them a press release about yourself, your book, and the date and location of your book signing, and ask if they would put it in their paper. This works best if your book coincides with a holiday, specific time of year (back to school, for example), or other special circumstance where it can be promoted in conjunction with another event. My book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles, for instance, came out right before Grandparent’s Day, so that was the angle I used when trying to promote through the media.
Also consider using radio to help drive people to your site. I’m not suggesting buying ad time, unless you have the budget for that, but rather trying to promote through radio interviews. This is normally the kind of thing a professional PR person would do for you, but you may just have to do it yourself. Send your local radio stations–those that you know conduct author interviews–a copy of your book to review (this needs to be done well ahead of your book signing), asking if you could interview with them.
If they like your book and your topic, they’ll probably say yes, as most of these stations are in need of new authors and new material. During your interview, make the listeners aware of your book signing and any other promotions or appearances you are doing.
2. Tell everyone you know–and even those you don’t! Of all the things you can do to get people to your book signing, there is none as effective as good ‘ol word of mouth. Start with your friends, family, and other writers you know. And don’t limit who you tell to only those who live near you or the location of your signing. You never know who these people might know who do live near you and would want to support you.
After sharing your news with everyone you know–and asking them to share it as well–start passing out those postcards! As I mentioned in Part 1, keep postcards and flyers with you at all times so you can talk up your book signing and leave people with some information about it. You don’t have to be an outgoing person to do this.
As you naturally strike up conversations with others during your daily routine of going to work, running errands, or helping at your kids’ school, ask people if they know of anyone who might be interested in the topic of your book and if they would mind passing along a postcard to that person. This way you’re not pushing yourself or your book on them, but rather trying to promote it through them. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
Now that you’ve done all you can to get people to your signing, what do you do once they’re there to help ensure they buy a book? While there certainly are no guarantees that those who show up will buy, there are some specific things you can do to make book sales more of a possibility. Please come back next week when I will talk about 5 “tricks” that will make prospective customers more likely to buy.