I went to a book signing recently to meet an author and pick up a copy of their book. I have taken my oldest daughter to something similar, but unless my memory is failing, I have never been to one of these for myself.
The author was extremely nice and greeted my daughter and I. Being “marketing minded” I was equally interested in the setup as I was the actual book or what the motives were behind writing it.
I thought about what materials that I would want if I was signing copies of my book. Perhaps a stand-up banner with the book cover and a few reviews printed in large print. I would want a custom table cover with my social media accounts visible at least. I most certainly would want to have something to pass out to those wanting a copy of the book. Maybe even a sign-up form so that I could add people to my newsletter. Or even something mobile-friendly that encouraged people to visit my website.
I was shocked when I saw that this author had none of that.
It was merely a table, a few copies of the book, and a pen.
During the course of the conversation, after hearing that another book was in the works, I asked if there was a newsletter or something on social media where I could follow along with updates and book releases. I was told to get on Facebook and look up the author’s name. That seemed to be the full extent of marketing.
Perhaps the author didn’t need to worry about all of that. Perhaps they just didn’t know. Or maybe the bookstore limited what materials the author was allowed to bring in. I am sure there are a few different scenarios that played into this.
However, if I had to guess, this person just wasn’t very marketing minded.
I get that having a freelance designer isn’t always the cheapest. However, I would argue that it is an investment. If you are planning on doing additional books with book signing events, you have to have some way to communicate that out. You need to draw some attention to your presence in the store. You need to make it exciting for others. They will gravitate toward that.
Just a few things to consider, and by all means, not an exhaustive list:
- Is your social media up to date? There is so much that could be done with this author. Behind the scenes looks into the writing process, work area, future books, images from past projects, teasers about upcoming projects, etc.
- Is there a way for your fans and potential customers to get updates from you? A simple newsletter sign-up would be so easy to do. Obviously social media is a great point of contact too, but why not collect some email addresses from the book signings? That is a pretty targeted list right there.
- Do you have a give-away or something a customer can take with them other than the book? If you are signing books, why not have a custom bookmark? That seems like a no-brainer to me. It would be a fun design and something memorable for the person getting their book autographed.
- Do you have any custom signage or booth materials? A custom table cover or a stand-up banner would be perfect for these types of signings. It would also help people in the store identify that something different is happening. And if designed correctly, these could be used across multiple events to stretch the dollar.
There are tons of other ideas you could throw at this, and I was just spit-balling those quickly. Sure, the event for this author was probably a good one and I wish them total success. But I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had this been thought through differently and planned with some additional marketing push behind it.
Nowadays, you have to be marketing minded.