Indie Author Book Signings
Hi Writers! At this point in my indie author career (almost two years since I published my first book!), I’ve participated in 10+ book signings/vendor events. If you’re an indie author looking for a new way to market your books, find new readers, and sell books, then keep reading!
First of all, you might be wondering how to find book signings or vendor events to participate in. The best place I’ve found is searching on Facebook. You can start by searching local events on Facebook or Google “events near me.” This is how I find the majority of the events that I take part in.
Another option that’s great if you have a local bookstore close by is to contact the bookstore and ask if you can do a book signing there. This usually works better if you go into the store and talk to a manager in person. I’ve had a book signing at my local Barnes and Noble, and that’s how I made it happen.
If you have connections to local businesses, then you can also try reaching out to them to ask about a book signing. For example, my husband and I go to a local brewery almost every weekend and we know the owners and employees. The brewery has let me do a book signing and a book launch party, and I was also a vendor at their Christmas market last year. You would be surprised how many thriller books I’m able to sell at a brewery!
Other events I’ve participated in include an annual brewery festival in Asheville that draws in thousands of people—it was by far my highest selling event—so of course I’m participating again this summer. I’ve also been a vendor at a monthly market thrown by a coffee shop downtown, another Christmas vendor market (which was my second best event), a smaller-scale brewery festival, a book fair, and a flea market.
The flea market was the least successful and probably not something I would try again. I’m willing to try any type of event once, but the people shopping at flea markets aren’t the right audience for adult thriller books—although I did still sell a handful of books that day.
Every event I’ve participated in had marketing involved by the company or business hosting the event. They post about the event on social media, they put up fliers around town, and sometimes they even have local news stations or radio stations mention the event. All this marketing is SO good for you and your books because that means thousands of people are seeing your name, the names of your books, and the covers if you submitted those for promotional images.
Some events may require a vendor fee, anywhere from $15 to $40 or more. I’ve participated in a few events that didn’t require a fee. Those are the best types of events because then you don’t have to worry about earning back your money; although, I’ve never participated in an event where I didn’t earn a profit. I would be hesitant to participate in an event that required hundreds of dollars in vendor fees.
Once you find an event, have paid the fees and confirmed you can participate with the event manager, then it’s time to make sure of a few things. Obviously, you need to make sure you have enough books in stock, so order your author copies well in advance. I usually order mine through Amazon because IngramSpark still has extremely slow shipping due to the pandemic. Amazon also charges less for shipping than most other places. You can keep your setup simple for your first event or two while you learn what items are important or helpful for a book signing, then, later on, focus on making your booth stand out.
I have framed posters of each book cover in my thriller series. They’re extremely eye-catching and they always make people do a double-take and stop at my table to ask about my books.
I also have a cute typewriter pen holder that I bring to every book signing, which people also seem to love. At every signing, I have several people who ask where I bought it (it’s from Amazon if you’re curious!).
Bring plenty of pens in case some of them dry out or aren’t working.
Make sure you have a card swiper to take payments by debit card and credit card. Most people don’t carry cash on them anymore, so this is extremely important. I’ve seen several vendors at events I’ve been a part of who only accepted cash and they were forced to miss out on sales, so make sure to plan and buy a card swiper in advance.
If you have other suggestions for book signings, please comment below and let me know! Tell me about your own experiences with author events and book signings. I’m always happy to learn more and I’m continuously improving my setup and how I approach book signings.
Part 2 in this series about book signings will be coming soon. Part 2 will explain how to make the most of book signings and author events and how to ensure you sell books at these events!