Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel


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Tips for Book Signings

For no-big-deal events, from author M. Diane Vogt:

In response to a request from a friend, I put together these tips for booksignings based on my experience in promoting three books. Afterward, I thought perhaps some of you might be interested. If not, scroll past!

I have a few suggestions for making your signing a success once you get there. Feel free to disregard if you don't find them helpful or comfortable for you.

1. Have something you can give out to people who come in the store. As you know, I use book marks.

2. Approach customers. Don't wait for them to approach you. Most won't do that, either because they're shy or they don't know who you are or why you're there, or because they're not interested.

3. Figure out what to say when you approach them that works. For instance, I used to say "I'm a local AUTHOR" and most of them would look at me without any understanding at all. But when I said "I'm a local WRITER," they'd be very interested, talk to me, etc. Feel free to try this yourself and see if it makes any difference. My whole initial spiel is: "Hello! Would you like a free bookmark? I'm a local writer and the store is featuring my mystery novels today." Even if they don't take the bookmark, I give them the second sentence.

4. Figure out what to say after the initial grabber that will interest your readers. This is a trial and error process. What works for me in local stores is "This is a new series of mysteries set here in the Bay area." If they're still standing there talking to me, I follow up with a brief description that will fit both books. Then, a short description of each book. etc. etc. etc.

5. If they are still standing there, I then say, "I'd be happy to personalize a copy for you, if you'd like." You'd be amazed how many people don't know that's what you're there for!!!

6. Ask them how they spell their names before you personalize the books. It's astounding how many ways there are to spell "Jane." :)

7. If they buy, give them something else. I have copies of articles that have appeared about me in the paper and a flyer that lists some of the review comments I've received.

8. Put your web address or e-mail address on whatever you decide to hand out. When they buy, tell them the address is there and ask them to let you know what they think about the book. I've gotten some much needed "fan mail" this way. Then, I can ask the readers to post the fan mail to review sites, etc.

9. Have a GOAL for the signing. This really should be the first thing, but I'll finish with it instead. Usually, my goal is to sell all the copies of my book that the bookseller has on hand, and a few more, and to leave them with copies from my stock which they will later replace. Aside from the obvious reasons to do this, it gives me a mailing list of successful signings that I can then use when I'm setting up for the next book. And it gives me a great rep with the booksellers. Several have said to me "I ordered so many copies of your book because I know you'll sell them."

Hope this helps! And good luck to you!

Best, Diane

M. Diane Vogt is the author of

  • Justice Denied, Writer's Showcase presented by Writer's Digest ISBN: 0-595-12897-1
  • Silicone Solution, Sterling House Publisher ISBN: 1-56315-171-5



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