Book Signing Success

Congrats!  You have been published!  Your book is being carried in bookstores, and your local store has agreed to host a book signing event for you!  Every author and illustrator has their unique way of presenting at events, but here are some tips, tricks and ideas to help make your next book signing a success for you and the kids… that hopefully the bookstores will want you back!

Publicize Your Event

Get the word out!  Nothing feels worse than having a poor turn-out for your event.  Make fliers to distribute to local schools’ a week or so in advance so that kids can bring the information home to their parents.  It might help to provide schools a copy of your book along with that big stack of fliers.  Contact your local newspaper at least a month ahead of time to see if they can do an article to feature your book and to promote your event.  Make a Facebook sticker/image to promote your signing, post it on your timeline, and ask your family and friends to share it on their own pages.  Make sure all of your friends and their kids know about the signing, and encourage them to come.  Crowds draw crowds!

Bring Props

Is your book about pirates?  Where a pirate hat!  Does your book take place at the beach?  Wear a Hawaiian shirt, sun hat and pass out cheap sunglasses to the first 20 kids!  Creating a little atmosphere can generate excitement about your book.  At a recent book signing for “The Summer Fairy”, the author Elizabeth Gillihan brought a vase of flowers (she let the kids be “helpers” and put the flowers in the vase), balloons and sat on a stool decorated like a toadstool while she read the story to the children.  She also passed out pixie sticks to all of the children who attended the story-time portion of the signing.

BookSigningKristi Valiant, author and illustrator of “Penguin Cha Cha”, had these fun cardboard cut-outs made for her book signings.

PenguinChaChaEngage For Every Age

There will probably be a wide age range at your event, from parents to preschoolers.  Remember, bored children are unhappy, restless, disruptive children.  If you are doing an illustration demo, be aware that not ever child may be old enough or able to follow along, and not every kid likes to draw.  Having coloring pages available can help those children be engaged even if they don’t feel up to drawing along with the group.  An easy way to do this is to print out the sketches of pages from your book, pass them out and have a basket of crayons available.  Also, encourage your audience to participate by asking them questions that you know will receive positive answers.  If your book is about summer, ask the kids “Who going camping this summer?” or “Who likes swimming?!”  Use questions as ways to help your audience connect to some aspect of your book.

Show & Tell

Especially if you won’t be doing an illustration demo, consider bringing some materials that show your process.  Kids enjoy looking at sketchbooks, sketches that were not used in the final book, and character designs.  At a recent book signing, I brought my sketchbook and asked the kids “Who here is good at scribbling?”  I then showed them my pages of thumbnails, which are really no more than scribbles.  The kids were impressed that being a good artist does not always mean being neat and perfect with our paintings, and it helped them to connect with me and with the artwork.

Write Right

Book signings can be crowded and loud, and it can be hard to hear the correct spellings of guests’ names when you are trying to sign their books.  Don’t just assume that you know how to spell a name.  I like to bring a blank notepad to my signings, so that when guests spell out their names for me, I can write it out on the pad first, show them, and confirm that I have spelled those names correctly.  Then, I write their personal message in the book.  Also, come with a message in mind that you can write in every book.  For example, for “The Summer Fairy”, I wrote “Have a magical summer” as the message unless the guest asked for something different.  And remember, bring extra pens in case your favorite one runs out mid-signing!


Bring Promotional Materials

If you have other books published, consider having bookmarks listing your titles available at your signing table for guests to take with them.  Also, bring business cards or promotional postcards.  Some adults may come to your signing just for the opportunity to meet, talk with, and get advice from a published illustrator.  You may not have time to talk to each person individually, so you might want to have business cards available so that you can direct these adults to your email, your website or your blog to get their questions answered.

Wishing you lots of success at your next signing event!







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1 Comment

  1. TeriGarretson

    It’s going to be finish of mine day, however before finish I am reading this enormous article to increase my experience.


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