Me^ (Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)
Don’t let that relaxed, calm, and passive face fool you 😉 I was STRESSED about my book signing last Saturday. I showed up an hour early, with all my stuff and my friend and her son and my mom…because, let’s face it: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ten minutes in, I was sweating…well, more literally than proverbially. TMI?
How did I survive? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Buckle up, folks! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
HAVE A PLAN!
What I Did Right
- I reserved the venue (my local public library) five months in advance (before the calendar filled up for 2018)
- Contacted my baker way in advance (Cross’ Confections. YUM!)
- Stayed in touch with my baker every so many months, until it got closer; by then, I was contacting her every so many weeks
- Sent out personal invites to friends and family (you can do e-invites, but there’s something about getting actual mail in the real-life mailbox…)
- Had swag related to each book
- Had my help lined up months in advance
If possible, get a free, public venue. I could have asked a church, but some people aren’t comfortable in a religious setting, and you have to pay to rent a room. Plus, if the church doesn’t approve of you book…well, that’s a whole ‘nother dilemma.
Baked goods are optional. I wanted to feed my guests. Did it cost me? Yes (not nearly as much as if I had gone with another bakery, but still.)
Keeping the lines of communication open with your venue and your help/baker is essential. People are busy and sometimes forget to write things down. You are not being a nag contacting them on occasion to finalize or go over plans.
A personal touch can mean the difference between a yes and a no. Want people to come to your party? Make them feel like they’re wanted. Because they are!
Giving away swag related to your book is a fun way to keep you and your work in people’s thoughts. Let’s face it: you have to see/hear of a book several times before you break down and read it.
Putting the burden on your own shoulders alone will break your back.
What I Did Wrong
- I did not set a budget. This is CRITICAL for any party planner: make certain you have a limit on what you want to spend. Things add up FAST! Whether you’re selling books or Mary Kay, you don’t want a deficit. Come out in the black!
- I had my expectations set on my last book signing. By doing this, I kept comparing. And when you compare, you tend to get negative. You doubt yourself and your ability to write, sell, or throw a party.
For refreshments, I had my high school friend Beth Cross of Cross’ Confections make three types of macarons (strawberry, blueberry, and I think the green one was matcha with a mint filling), chocolate chip scones, and shortbread cookies. Mmmm!
(Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)
For book swag, I had postcards for Lady Catherine Says…
Lip balms with the cover art for Lady Catherine Says, along with information on where to find the book; postcards for Circus in a Shot Glass with pens attached…
Buttons for In a Pickle with the words “I’VE GOT SOME HISTORY TO FIX” printed on them; and bookmarks for those who bought Lady Catherine Says, encouraging people to leave reviews of my books on Goodreads.
With twenty-four people in attendance, I’m calling the official book launch/signing for Lady Catherine Says a success!
Keep your pen on the page and your nose in a book,
P.S. Here’s a link to my radio interview last Thursday: Listen Here!