Self-publishing: Finding an audience for book signing by Monica Shaughnessy

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Monica Shaughnessy author of Space City 6, talks on finding an audience for book signing.

You have written your book. You have loaded it to Amazon through Createspace and it is available as an eBook.
Monica Shaughnessy has some tips to help you make sales.

I’ve got a book signing this weekend, and I’m a nervous wreck. This will be my first EVER. But thankfully, I’m not alone in this endeavour and I’ll be joined by several ladies who’ve done tons of them. So I’ve got them to guide me. But here are my observations on finding a large enough audience for your signing:

1. Group signings will always be more “busy” than single author signings.

And busy is good. Unless you’re Rick Riordan or a local celeb, you may have a hard time attracting much more than your immediate friends and family to the event. But if everyone chips in with audience development, you’re guaranteed to fill seats. Don’t forget, there’s safety in numbers! You don’t have to be in an author collective like me. You can just gather a group for genre signings.

2. Join an event “already in progress” for a guaranteed audience.

Want the biggest crowd at your book signing? Then host it during a book festival or at a farmers’ market. Or get creative, but targeted. Is your book about dogs? Then host an event at local agility trials. Do you have a book about the civil war? Set up a table during an historical re-enactment event. (With permission, of course!!!) Our venue is a local indie bookstore, but like I said above, I’ve got help with audience development. I’ve got a cat series, though, that I want to push. So I may be thinking outside the (litter) box soon with this one.

3. Now is not the time to be shy. Send an invitation by email or snail mail to everyone you know.

I can’t tell you how many Pampered Chef and jewellery parties I’ve been invited to (I’ve even gone to a few). If they can send out those invites, so can you. You might be surprised at who turns up. Another reason for a large emailing: only 5 to 10% of your list will even RESPOND (and many of those will be ‘no’). Think volume. No, don’t invite your plumber (unless he’s a bookworm). But do invite all those women you know from the gym or all those guys you play softball with on the weekends.

4. Personal invitations work better than emailed invitations.

It’s good to email people and blast your social media, but don’t forget face to face, too. There’s nothing like talking to a select group and really giving them some good, personal information about you and your book to convince them to come. Personal touch wins every time. Not everyone will accept your invitation, but your conversion rate will be higher. So if you’re going to a writers’ org meeting, stand up and announce your event!

5. Make sure to submit to your local paper, neighbourhood mag, local radio/tv and event website.

Don’t forget about the general public. I was pleasantly surprised last month during a different event when we had some of the general public show up – and they came from a website listing. You just don’t know. So do it.

6. Still not getting the audience you need? Or have ebook only?

Try a virtual signing. I’ve heard about authors doing these through Facebook with some success. But in my opinion, these work better as a group event with multiple authors. Set up an FB event, pick a time for all authors to be present and in front of their computer, and then have a virtual chat session through FB posts where readers ask questions. This works especially well if you’ve got non-fiction and have a book that goes with your topic. You’ll have a chance to sell your book to lots of interested readers. The only drawback to this is that FB is becoming more and more restrictive. So don’t leave it up to “accidental discovery.” Send out your invites to specific people to make sure they know about it.

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not close with my own book info :

 

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