How to Make the Most of Your Book Signing

Book Signings can be a great way for an author to get out and not only make great contacts with book stores but more importantly to meet and mingle with the consumers – the people who are going to buy the book you put your blood, sweat and tears, not to mention moolah into the last umpteen number of years.

But you have to make sure you are making the most out of these events, otherwise you might as well have stayed home!

Once you have made contact with a bookstore and scheduled a date and time for your signing, here are the steps you need to take before the event takes place to ensure it is a smashing success:

  • Make sure the bookstore will be doing ample publicity for your signing to their customers – ask them to put your event info on their store’s website, in their newsletter (if they have one) and send to any customer email lists they utilize. Provide them if possible, an image of you and the book’s cover for any flyers or posters they may want to keep around the store weeks before your scheduled signing
  • You or your book publicist should also be doing publicity for your event. Contact the local calendar and events editors at newspapers to run a listing of your signing (this should be done 3 weeks before your signing date). Post info about your event at online event sites geared toward the town your signing is in. Target radio and TV shows in the store’s market for interviews in conjunction with your upcoming event (make sure you pitch them a timely topic and not just your awesome upcoming book signing).
  • Use your network – especially if the signing is in your hometown or the town you grew up in, make sure you are letting your friends and family know about it. Ask them to forward on the information to two of their friends and so on. Pretty soon a whole lot of people will know about your upcoming event.

Now it’s the day of your book signing. You’ve tirelessly worked on publicity for the event and spent hours practicing your John Hancock. To help the signing get off without a hitch, try to:

  • Have the store set up you up in the front. If that is not a possibility, then make sure you are in a well-trafficked area.
  • Ask the store every 20 minutes or so to make an announcement on their loudspeaker that you are signing copies of your book.
  • Bring a friend or family member with you who will stand at the front door of the store handing out bookmarks or flyers (if you have them) telling customers about the book signing currently going on.
  • While you are at your table, don’t sit but stand. Smile and engage customers as they are walking past. The happier and friendlier you look, the better chance they will stop and want to know more about your book.

Bottom line: A book signing can be hard work with preparation for it starting months in advance, but it can be rewarding as well. If you follow the guidelines explained above, you will start yourself on the right path to having an enjoyable and successful event.

Erin MacDonald-Birnbaum is the Director of Publicity Strategy at Smith Publicity, Inc. Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity is one of the world’s leading promotional firms, specializing in book publicity. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, the company has worked with over 900 individuals and companies–from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and businesses representing a wide range of industries. The Smith Publicity reach is international with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, and London. For more information about Smith Publicity, Inc., please visit


  1. says

    Great article. I grew up in a promotion department and we had posters up that read “If you don’t promote a terrible thing happens – nothing.”