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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…..so 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.

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