How to Sell Your Book at Bookstore Signings

  • Target Independent acim and Gift Shops: Ask them if they will take books on consignment; many will accept five to ten copies and help you set up events like signings and speaking engagements as well.

o Schedule your events during the time period that your books will be on consignment at the store (usually 90 days) so you can make the most of your signing and the fact that your book is on the shelves. Employees are more likely to chat about the book to customers when they know there’s an upcoming signing.

o Some stores only take books on consignment from local authors, but others don’t have this limitation, so consider stores in states you will be visiting too.

o Not all stores take consignments, but some will consider purchasing copies of your book outright through their own review system. Even if they won’t purchase your book, many will still allow you to hold a book signing at which you can sell copies of your book.

o If the store manager balks at holding a signing, suggest a local author day for yourself and several other authors of different genres. This is likely to generate significant traffic for the store, and if the event is successful, the shop may invite you back or even purchase some copies of your book for their shelves.

  • Contact Area Libraries: Offer to donate a copy of your book and schedule a reading or speaking event; you can let attendees know where to buy a copy of the book at the event. Try to schedule a signing shortly after the reading so you can offer added value to audience members who purchase your book following the reading.

Be prepared when you approach someone about buying your book and/or scheduling a book-signing. Dress appropriately and bring your calendar, invoices, and clean copies of your book. When an opportunity arises, you need to be ready to capitalize on it. Be sure to let the manager know if you have any upcoming media appearances or events that will help the bookstore sell more copies of your books.

At the signing:

  • Sell Your Book: Smile, introduce yourself, and talk about the features and benefits of your book. What value does your book provide? Entertainment? A great plot twist? The secret to success in business? Emotional support? Don’t expect those in line or bystanders to understand what your book offers if you can’t articulate it yourself. Bookstore patrons are often shy, so you need to be able to start and carry the conversation. Ask passersby what they like to read to engage them in discussion.
  • Be Open to Opportunities: Stay alert for speaking engagements and other opportunities that could arise as a result of your book-signing. Perhaps an attendee will want to buy extra copies of your book for their employees or for members of their church group. You never know who the person in front of you is or who they might know – she or he could be a terrific resource for selling your book.
  • Make It Count: The book-signing needs to benefit your host in order for you to be invited back, so make the event pleasant and, if possible, profitable. Promote the event beforehand. During the signing, speak positively about the store as much as about your book and yourself. Stay flexible and upbeat throughout the signing, and send a note of thanks afterwards.

Remember that marketing your book through book-signings is only part of your selling strategy. Integrating this effort into your other marketing endeavors will help you develop your reputation as an author and sell more books!

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