I'm headed to Portland tomorrow to sign books at the Northwest Book Festival. Now that may sound glamorous, but the truth is that most authors tell stories that will cause fear and trembling when it comes to book-signings. For example, I had one lady let me know that my handwriting was horrible, which she thinks means I don't view myself very highly. I proved her wrong by renting a limo for my last event with Team Love on the Run (including the lovely Heather Woodhaven pictured below).
Making a book-signing fun doesn't require a limo though. (Sorry, Heather.) Here are my five-tips for having a fun-book signing, even if you aren't a rock star.
1. Leave autographed books behind. The shelf-life of a Harlequin novel is one month. That doesn't give much time for setting up book-signings. And even if I could, not everyone would be able to make it. So I used my month to stop at the Fred Meyers and Walmarts in my area to sign books on my own. I let readers know online, but I also liked to imagine it as a fun surprise for strangers who chose to purchase my book based on the awesome title and plot rather than a connection to me.
2. Play with your readers. When I sign my middle-grade series, I take my Pie Face game. Anybody who plays the game gets a discount on my books. Usually, I have a line of kids, but this mom didn't have her kids with her, so she did it for them. You know you have the best readers ever when they let you smash a pie in their face.
3.) Think outside the bookstore. For the release of my book The Pillow Fight Professional, I held a pillow fight workshop at Freedom Fitness. Kids brought their pillows, I gave them lessons, we ate cake, and they bought books. So much more fun than just sitting behind a table, waiting for people to notice me.
4. Friends don't let friends sign alone. I've done book-signings by myself, and they can be kinda sad if there's nobody to talk to except the lady who thinks I have horrible handwriting. On the contrary, if I'm doing a book-signing with a friend, she gets my craziness. We can talk the time away, or we can pimp each other's books when people stop by our table. Jill Williamson is the best at doing this, by the way.
5. Giveaways. Sometimes I wrap mini candy bars with labels that have my book cover on them. Sometimes I give away water balloons. Sometimes I have drawing for a grand prize like a Kindle. This weekend, I've printed up cards with the cover of The Princess and the P.I. on it. People can take the cards with info on how to sign up for my newsletter and receive the free book download. Businesses do stuff like this to make money. I do stuff like this because I want people to know I'm there for them. I'm not a taker. I want to make the world a little brighter.
See, I'm really not a rock star. I'm a mom in Idaho who spends a good portion of my time sitting in front of my computer, wearing a bathrobe. I do this out of my love of story and my love for you. And hopefully, this weekend's book-signing will bring them both together.