Once you have scheduled a book signing at a local book store or other venue, the real work begins. You may think that as the author your only job is to show up, greet your adoring fans, and sign some books; however, the success of the book signing is on your shoulders, so you had better get busy.
Do not assume that the book store is in charge of promoting the event. They may do a few things, such as listing your signing in their event calendar or putting up a few signs, but the rest is up to you.
Start with the people you know and who know you. Send invitations to friends, acquaintances, family members, business colleagues, members of your writers group—anyone who knows you and would be interested in the fact that you published a book.
Announce the signing to your email list. You don’t have an email list? Get started on one today. Sign up for an account at Aweber, add an opt-in form to your website or blog (Aweber makes it easy to do) and start building your list. If you are just starting a list now, it may be too late for this book signing, but you plan to do others, don’t you?
Post information about the event to your website or blog. Let people know when and where the book signing will be, and encourage them to come out and meet you. Update your site after the event with photos and a description of how it went.
Send out press releases. Contact local media to let them know about your book signing. Make sure they know that you are a local author. When you do an event away from where you live, highlight your connection to the area, if any. For example, were you born there, did you go to school there, do you have family in the area, is your book set there, etc?
Distribute press releases online. There are several free and paid options for putting out press releases online. Even if you do not get the attention of the media with your online press releases, they will be seen by the public. Many of the people who see your press release online may not be local to the event, or they may see the notice weeks or months after the event takes place, so be sure to include links to your website as well as information about where people can buy the book online.
Promote your book signing well to bring out a big audience. You will sell more books and it will be easier to convince other book stores to host your future events.