How to Master Your Book Signing Event: 17 Pro Tips

POSTED ON Apr 15, 2024

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Ready to promote your new book after your book launch? Then it’s time to host a book signing! 

A book signing is the perfect way to get your name out there and build excitement for your book. But how do you host one well?

If it’s your first time with a signing event, or if you’ve had bad luck with them in the past, don’t worry. In this article, I’ll explain how to ace your event with ease. 

But before we get into my top tips for a signing, let’s make sure you know what a book signing is and why you should host one. 


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What Is A Book Signing?

A book signing is an event where you meet with your fans (and potential new fans) and sign their copies of your newly launched book. There is usually also a short reading from the book, fun giveaways, and time for a Q&A with your audience. 

A signing event is a lot of fun, and allows you to network with your fans. But what are the other benefits of hosting an event? Let’s take a look. 

The Benefits of Hosting a Book Signing 

How To Host A Book Signing

Some of us prefer to stay behind a screen, but there is only so much you can do via email and social media. Trust me, a signing event is something you definitely want to host. 

Why?

Here are some of the benefits of hosting a book signing:

  • Increased value: Signing your book instantly makes it a collector’s item, and personalizing your messages to your readers can make your book extra special for them. 
  • Relationship building: A signing boosts your author platform and helps you to form a stronger and more personal bond with your readership. 
  • No refunds: Signed books can’t be returned, so you don’t need to worry about refunds.
  • More sales: You are bound to pull in new readers at your event, and your current readers may want to buy multiple copies of your signed book as gifts for their loved ones. You can even offer a discount for buying more than one copy of your book.
  • Shared publicity: If you care about your local bookstore or coffee shop, hosting your event there can give the location some much-needed exposure. 

Now that you understand why hosting a signing event is so great, let’s talk about how to host a successful book signing. 

17 Book Signing Tips to Ace Your Event 

Need some book signing event ideas? Here are my top tips for hosting your event without a hitch. 

1. Choose the Right Location 

Location is everything for your book signing. Usually, a place that sells books is the obvious choice, but if there is a restaurant or art gallery that makes sense, it’s worth reaching out to other types of locations, too. 

If you are a Christian author, consider a church. If you are a children’s book author, maybe a daycare or a school is more fitting. 


Generally a library, Barnes & Noble, or local bookstore is a great place to host a book signing for the average author. 

Just be sure to do research on any policies or requirements venues might have for their events. 

2. Contact Your Shortlist 

Narrow down your favorite locations and reach out to see if they can host your book signing event. It’s a good idea to contact potential venues around 3 to 6 months ahead of your event.  

When you contact the location, find out if there is a dedicated event planner that you can get in touch with about details. I generally find that speaking with them in person or over the phone gives a more personal touch to your first interaction, but emailing also works. 

After your initial reach-out, provide the venue with your author media kit (your portfolio) so they can learn more about you and decide if they would like to host you or not. 

3. Ask Your Venue Questions 

When determining if the venue is right for you, you should ask the event planner some questions, including:

  • Will they handle the payment for any books purchased?
  • Will they provide the books, or should you bring them?
  • How will they market for the event (and would they like some help)?
  • What equipment will they have available for your book signing?
  • Will they provide a table and chair for you or should you bring them?

4. Gather Some Props 

Don’t expect your book alone to be enough to entice the audience. You want to have an eye-catching station to encourage people to buy your signed books. 

I recommend creating a big foam board with your book cover that you can tape to the wall or set up on an easel. You can also make a themed banner or other fun materials to draw attention to your signing table. If you need help with your props, you can always hire a graphic designer off Upwork or Fiverr.

If you need to provide your own table and chair, make sure they are easy to get to the location. You should choose a chair that is comfortable, and bring a dark-colored tablecloth that will hide stains (and any boxes you set up under your table). 

It’s also a good idea to bring some business cards for networking at your event. 

5. Prepare Your Pitch

Show up prepared to talk about your book. It’s a good idea to have a quick summary ready for people who haven’t seen your book before. You can also pick an excerpt to read and practice reading it out loud. 

I also recommend writing down questions to provide to the venue staff. This way they can ask you questions if the audience is too shy to get started. 

6. Practice Your Signature 

Make sure to practice where and how you want your signature. Usually, the title page is a good place to sign because there is plenty of empty space. 

You should also find a pen that is comfortable and quick-drying so you won’t smear your signature. Calligraphy pens and Sharpies are good bets, but if you have a favorite type of ballpoint pen, that works too. 

Remember to ask who the signed book will be for, because sometimes it’s a gift for someone else. You can have a notebook or sticky notes on hand so the person can jot down the spelling of the name – you never want to assume! 

7. Build Awareness for Your Book Signing

Now it’s time to market your event. There are plenty of ways you can do this. You can:

  • Post information on your author website 
  • Personally invite all your friends and colleagues 
  • Send a sample chapter or press release to your local newspaper or magazine 
  • Ask local radio stations for an interview 
  • Ask coffee shops and retailers if they would be willing to put up fliers 
  • Put event information on all your social media channels 
  • Create announcements for the event venue to use 

8. Get a Helper

If you are carrying a lot of books and props to your book signing, you will need a helping hand! Ask a friend or staff member if they can help you get to and from the event, and if they can take pictures for you while you are there. 

Your helper can also help usher people to your signing table, and make sure you always have a fresh stack of books to sign. 

9. Show Up Early 

I recommend showing up about an hour before your event starts to get the lay of the land and set up your signing table. 

Display your books nicely on shelves or a wire book stand and get yourself into the right mental space for a successful event.

10. Bring Extra Pens

You are going to your book signing event to sign books, so you need to make sure that you can! The last thing you want is to run out of ink. Bring some extra pens with you as backup. 

11. Set Up a Guest Book 

One of the best book signing event ideas I can give you is to have a guest book for people to sign. Not only can fan messages give you inspiration on future books, a guest book is a great way to get more people on your email list

Let people know they should provide their email addresses and information so they can receive special promotions in the future! 

12. Provide Refreshments 

You want your book signing to be fun – and everyone loves food! Set up some tasty bites and some water or juice so that your fans have something to enjoy while they mingle. You might even want to partner with a local bakery to have book-themed cookies or other treats made. 

Having access to quick snacks will help you keep your energy up (because book signing events can be surprisingly draining)! 

13. Don’t Stay at Your Table

You want to be personable during your book signing. I recommend walking around and talking to people and getting to know your fans. You never know who you might end up networking with!  

14. Have a Giveaway 

I always recommend bringing some merch along to your event so you can have a raffle or giveaway. This helps to make your signing more fun and interactive for your guests. 

You can make some bookmarks, pins, notebooks, to hand out to guests, or some shirts, mugs, or special edition books for lucky winners.  

Make sure to bring some extras for people who don’t win prizes but want to buy them. 

15. Take Some Pictures! 

If you are looking for book signing event ideas to help you interact with your readers, photos are an easy way! You can take pictures with your fans and the venue staff to post on your social media accounts later. 

16. Give Yourself Breaks 

Even if you are having a blast with your book signing, it’s a good idea to give yourself a little time to step away. This will ensure you remember to hydrate, and you can do some touch-ups as needed so you look great in all your event photos.

17. Follow Up

After your event, make sure to send a thank you to everyone who was involved. Thank the hosts of your signing, and even send a thank you email out to the people who signed your guest book. 

If there were any reporters or photographers that worked on your event, make sure to thank them too. 

Enjoy Your Book Signing Event! 

With all these tips, you are all set up to host your signing event. A book signing is just one fabulous way to market your book, but if you are looking for more book marketing tips, the team at self-publishing is here to help.

And, if you’re hoping to write a sequel, or haven’t published your book to begin with, you can schedule a free strategy call to make sure you are on the right track for success.


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