I'm back from Amelia Island a few books lighter and with several lessons under my belt. This was my first book signing event, and it went pretty smooth. I met a lot of fantastic authors and readers, and would definitely go again. However, there were a few bumps and are the lesson's learned in no particular order (some offered to me by fellow authors at the festival - thanks K'Anne!):
1. Tape. You'll need both scotch and duct tape. For what? Everything.
2. My banner worked great. I found mounting clips at Office Depot that worked good, but would have worked better with tape. I would have added a banner behind and above me, too. Those call more attention to your booth.
3. Change. I was scrambling the night before to get lots of ones. I think the lady at Publix thought I was getting ready to go to a strip bar.
4. Fish bowl or cookie jar for business cards and giveaway. I used an unsightly piece of disposable Tupperware.
5. NEVER WALK OUT OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT MY COFFEE MUG.
6. Attractive book ends and book display holders. (Duh! Its a book fest.) I even saw one author with a collapsable wire book rack.
7. Ask ahead of time about wi-fi.
8. If you are going to use your phone to take credit cards, have a portable phone charger.
9. Bring. Your. Own. Chair. It was at a middle school, and they must have given me the Timeout Chair.
10. Bring candy to hand out.
11. Bring small cooler with my own lunch, water and snacks.
12. Get one of those beach wagons to haul everything in and out.
14. See-through plastic bags to put your book in.
15. Have your sales pitch ready to go in your mind and keep it simple. After a few deliveries I had mine down OK, but looking back I should have had it tighter. I got asked two basic questions: 1) What is the genre and 2) What is it about? I tried to keep each to one sentence.
Well, that's about it. I'm going to try to make a few more book signings this year. I'll keep you posted here.
Oh, yeah, weirdest question I got asked. "Do you know martial arts?"
In my latest Underground Book Reviews column, I talk about using UBR's unique features to network with other indie authors and expand your reader base. Here's an excerpt:
“Three is a magic number. Yes it is, its a magic number. Somewhere in the ancient mystic trinity, you get three as a magic number…”
If you’re old enough, you might remember an old Saturday morning cartoon called School House Rock. In the 1970s it educated young minds full of mush in between doses of Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo. One particular episode taught kids how to divide and multiply by threes. I like the number three, because for indie authors it really is a magical number. By exploring the unique opportunities Underground Book Reviews gives authors, you can take three marketing platforms and three readers and turn then into potential seed corn for a much wider audience.
For all those who helped my son Jacob decide with photo he should enter in his school's photo contest, thanks. You overwhelmingly selected Feather on Water.
He entered it and it won 1st place! It will now go to the state competition. I'll keep you informed.
What does it take to give your novel "shelf appeal"? In my latest Underground Book Reviews column I discuss cover, synopsis and sample - the three key elements required to get your novel noticed and on its way.
Here's a excerpt:
Readers have money and time to invest. Authors want readers to invest that money and time in their novel. Ever watch the show Shark Tank? Its kinda like that. You have to convince the reader to take a chance on your story. A novel’s cover, synopsis and first few pages are what seals the deal.
Read the rest on Underground Book Reviews.