SF: Barnes and Noble provided my books to be signed, advertising on their website and in their store weeks beforehand. They had a very huge poster with my photo and book on the outside window as well as on my signing table and throughout the store. I provided my huge poster board I had made of my book cover that I set up in front with my bookmarks. The other signings/launch parties I brought my own books, my poster board, bookmarks and armed myself with a Square so people could pay with credit cards. At El Coyote I provided the appetizers and everyone bought their own margaritas. The San Clemente Wine Store provided appetizers while everyone purchased their own wine. I had the El Coyote party from 2-6 which, according to my PR friend, was too long but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time. Always listen to your intuition, you usually know best! Also Barnes and Noble did it from 12-4. Perfect amount of time as it flew by because I was having so much fun! MB: Walk us through a book signing from the moment you arrive at the location to the moment you leave. SF: I arrive early, from a half hour to an hour to set up my books, poster board, bookmarks etc. At Barnes and Noble they put me in the front of the store where everyone walks in with a table, chair and books to sign. Not too much to set up except my bookmarks and poster board book cover. At El Coyote I wanted to make sure there were chips, salsa, candles, bookmarks etc. on all tables. My friend offered to take care of the book sales so I could mingle and not be distracted by collecting money, running credit cards etc. My job was to sign them, mingle and have fun, which worked out perfectly because so many people attended ranging from friends I hadn’t seen in 20 years to strangers from social media and close friends. It was really crowded and overwhelming. For the Barnes & Noble signings, I’m not one to sit in a chair and wait for people to come to me, I am up and about giving away bookmarks and chatting with people. It feels more natural than just sitting there. MB: How do you get stores to keep stock of your book AFTER your signing is over? SF: I sign about 10 so they can have autographed copies and I give suggestions as to how to display it so they don’t just shove it in the bookshelf. My cover is catchy and helps to sell the book. Shoved in a shelf, a book won’t sell until its author is established and people come looking for that specific book! I suggest a few employees read it and if they like it they’ll put it in the “recommended books” section which is a huge draw. Book Soup purchased 4 books to start and they sat in the bookshelf until someone read it, loved it and now it’s on the “recommended books” table and they’re selling like crazy and it’s on their best sellers list! MB: What are your 3 biggest tips for new authors trying to set up book signings? SF: 1.) Be persistent, think out of the box, and have fun. Have various types of signings and or parties. My next signing will be by the pool at a hotel across from the harbor in San Diego. I will invite people but also the hotel guests are now part of my audience and by the pool is a fun summer thing to do. The hotel said they will put posters up for me and invite the guests. It’s a kitschy hotel so it fits the book. 2.) Don’t give up. Call local book stores to get your book in and then ask for a signing. I’ve learned that book stores need assistance on how to get creative in featuring the book or it will just sit. 3.) Don’t pigeonhole your book into one demographic, assuming only that audience will like it. For example, I assumed only women would like my book since it’s Chick Lit. Losing the Plot in LA has been a big success with men as well as women. I was surprised when I read the reviews on Amazon and when my friends’ boyfriends and husbands told me how much they loved it! MB: Tell us about the best experience you had at a signing…and the worst. SF: I was a nervous, sweaty mess at the El Coyote book signing, seeing so many old friends and just the excitement of the day that my face was shiny and looked horrid in all the photos. Use a lot of powder! LOL. But seriously it was crazy, overwhelming, and fun. The hardest part about this type of event is not offending your guests, as you need to socialize and make your way through the crowd making time for everyone. Invite everyone from your past, present, social media etc. I enjoy the party signings best as they are more relaxed and fun with drinks, food etc. When at a book store signing, don’t just sit there, have something to hand out or just mingle with people. If you have something to pass out such as a bookmark, they have something to check out later and hopefully buy your book. If you can engage them, show them your book and pull them into conversation. The hardest part was trying to catch up with everyone because there were friends I had not seen in YEARS. The most embarrassing was spacing out on the El Coyote Owner’s name while I was signing her book, DUH! I’ve known her for years, Uhhh, embarrassing! I also bought a cheap flimsy stand for my poster board book cover thingy and it kept falling down. The coup de grace was when I tripped over it and almost knocked a guy and his girlfriend down as their quesadilla flew across the room and my book whacked him in the head….but hey, I’m a clumsy dork so not too surprising! I tend to lose the plot daily!
Losing the Plot in LA is currently available for purchase, you can get yours here! If you have any further questions about book signings, or any direct questions for Sonia, please leave them in the comment section below and we’ll answer in a future blog post.