Preparing for a book signing? Here’s what I did.

In my last post I told you about my great adventure to my local independent bookstore. While there, I was offered the opportunity to sell my books during Rhubarb days this weekend. I’m really excited and have been preparing for weeks. Now that the event is here and I’m as prepared as I’m going to get, I want to share what I did to get ready.

Preparing for the saleA Good Book Storefront

First, I invited a friend and local author who I know has experience selling at events. Chris Bailey, author of The Crystal Key (Starjumper Legacy, Book 1) and the Starjumper Legacy series, Without Chance and Whisper has done many local events including Oddmall and Sumner’s A Victorian Country Christmas, so I knew he could show me the ropes. Also, his daughter is Gator McBumpypants‘s biggest fan and I’ve enjoyed his books, so we can cross-sell and talk each other up.

It’s important to know exactly what will be provided by your host and what you are expected to bring.
After Chris okayed things with A Good Book he said all we need to bring is a way to take payment and our books. The store is supplying the tables and chairs.

Make sure you have enough books and they are exactly how you want them.

I asked Chris for advice on this as well and ordered more books than I would have otherwise. I thought I would sell the first book the most. His experience was that if you sell the whole set at a discount, you are more likely to sell the whole set. Since I was planning on selling the whole set at a discount already, I ordered only a few extra of the first book, and more of the rest than I had originally imagined.

I also used this re-order to review the books and update them to include online information about the other books and Gator McBumpypants website and facebook on the last page. Because I use Create Space to make my books, I can make these changes for free and it only takes a couple days. The books I ordered arrived a week before expected.

The next thing to think about is your display. You will want to have:

  • A table cloth or table skirt (I have not tried this product. I will be using a piece of stretch-velvet fabric)
  • Book stands to display the books well
  • Signs so customers don’t have to ask the prices
  • Business cards – make sure your business cards are up-to-date and appropriate for the books you are selling. I have separate business cards for my adult and children’s books
  • Email sign-up sheets – I printed sheets with a table with three columns for name, email, and comments. Everyone who signs up gets a copy of the first book in PDF form.

You’ll also want to think about give-aways

I designed and printed bookmarks but I have seen other things like little pins or stickers. Get creative.

One Little Extra

This should be an opportunity to get some great pictures of people enjoying my books, so I’m going to bring photo-release forms in hopes that people will give me permission to use their images for publicity.

Time to promote your sale!

Now that you’re ready. It’s time to get people to come. Because this is a local event, I approached promotion a little differently.

Facebook.com– I created my first event from Gator McBumpypants’s Facebook page. All you have to do is click on Events on the left sidebar and then click Create an Event. Fill out the information, add a nice picture and invite your friends who live nearby. I also shared my event with some local writer pages I follow.

Nextdoor.com– I participate in a neighborhood website on nextdoor.com. I was happy to see that I was also able to set up an event on this page. This is directed to my neighborhood and the close surrounding area, so I hope my event will reach the people most likely to go to Sumner Rhubarb Days.

Blog – This post will go out to Twitter, Google+ and Tumbler.

There you have it. The inside story of how I prepared for my book signing/ sale this weekend at Rhubarb Days in Sumner, WA.

Anything I forgot? What would you do differently? Any fun book signing stories to tell? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest and are looking for some Free Family Fun this Sunday, July 16th, please come enjoy Rhubarb Days in Sumner. I’ll be signing books in front of A Good Book Bookstore, 1014 Main Street from 11am to 4pm.

 

 

 

Want More Readers?

While preparing my next newsletter, I noticed that my last one had a bunch of great information in it. I don’t want anyone to miss out, so here it is to give you a taste of what goes into my newsletters. If you like it, please sign up to get monthly installments and your free copy of Read to Write: Conflict and Suspense.

social media buttons

So many places to post content. Make it good content!

Give your readers what they want how they want it

No matter what you are publishing to the web, your readers are going to read it differently than they would a book or other type of written media.

Studies have shown (Nielsen 2006) that people tend to scan web content. They look at the title, subtitle and first paragraph and then quickly scan to the end. This has led to two ideas of content design:

Both ideas work together. The F-shape design emphasizes grabbing your reader’s attention with an exciting title, an informative sub-title and summarizing what you are going to talk about in your first paragraph.

The upside-down pyramid is a design where you put the most important thing you want to say (or the conclusion) at the top of your post and make sure everything that needs to be read is on the top two thirds of the page.

Make your content sexy

Sexy content has nothing to do with sex (unless you’re writing erotica). It’s all about reader appeal. What makes someone look at your page of content and think, I want to read this? White space.

White space? Then why write anything, right? No, the blank page isn’t sexy. The sexiness of white space is the breath between ideas, like a rest in music creating suspense.

To create white space in your content you can use:

  • titles
  • subtitles
  • bulleted lists
  • numbered lists
  • infographics
  • images
  • tables
  • videos
  • links

In other words, anything that provides useful information and breaks up the text.

Accessibility

For me, one of the most interesting sections of learning to write for the web was the discussion of accessibility. When scrambling to finish a blog post, or in the excitement of posting a video to youtube, it is easy to forget to make our posts inclusive to as many people as possible.

When posting blog posts and videos in the past, I put very little thought into the image descriptions and alternate text. I didn’t really understand the purpose off these extra steps. But they have a very special purpose.

Imagine that you can’t see. How would you know what the image looks like that the blog post references? The digital voice on your computer would read the description of the image.

Now imagine you can’t hear. The website you are looking at has a great video, but you can’t hear a word the person is saying. Adding text to your video gives this reader access.

Spending just a little extra time with accessibility tools can enhance your content and increase your readability.

SEO: Titles and Key Words

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become big business. It is how websites, blogs, people, anything, is found through a search engine on the web.  Increasing your SEO may increase your readership. How do you increase your SEO? By using the key words your readers are searching for in your titles, key words and content.

Overwhelming, right? Not anymore. Last month you learned about creating personas. You spent time researching and getting to know your readers. Now, ask each persona, What did you type into your search engine (maybe assign a different search engine to each persona–Fred uses Bing, Jenna uses Yahoo, etc.) to find this content?

This exercise changed my ideas about key words. When I first started blogging, I listed my key words for a blog post one word at a time, but when I search for things I very rarely type one word searches. Pay attention to how you search the web. Try to image yourself searching for a topic and finding your website or blog. How did you get there?

Making sure that your titles, subtitles and phrases in your content all include your key word phrases will increase your SEO.

Take Away

Even if you have taken the time to write and edit the most interesting, well-written content that you know your readers will love because you did the research and took the time to get to know your readers and your competition, you still need to present your content in a way that will appeal to how they read on the web.

Do all of your Holiday Shopping right here! Then you’ll be done!

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks, and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Get All Your Christmas Shopping Done Right Here!

Think of all the great people on your Christmas list. I bet, even though you want to get each person something great, you are dreading the drudgery of driving all over town from store to store only to shell out money for the latest piece of plastic that your loved ones most likely won’t even appreciate.

Now, imagine with only a few clicks right here, from this page, all of your shopping could be complete. Each person you want to celebrate with will have a unique and thoughtful gift and you don’t need to move from your seat. Sounds amazing, right?

 

A great gift for the whole family

To keep every mind in the family sharp, take a look at Artifact Puzzles. Their beautiful wooden jigsaw puzzles are wonderful at any gathering. They are great collectors items because they are fun to do over and over again.

My family has a tradition of setting out one or two Artifact Puzzles for after meal entertainment. They are a great group activity and really bring people together. Artifact Puzzles has puzzles for all ages and skill ranges.

 

Give the gift of reading this year

Think of your gift list again. Think of the adorable little ones running around and screaming. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were sitting quietly being read to or reading a book? For children new born to age seven-ish, Gator McBumpypants adventures  are fun colorful stories that teach children about appreciating the differences in others and making friends. The stories are about being brave and trying new things.

Gator McBumpypants is a fun, sweet read that takes you through the highs and lows of friends that discover the greatness with each other and with themselves. What a delightful read and the choice of photography is brilliant! The perfect story to fuel the imagination in us all.                                                         – Amazon reviewer Zappathedog

With three adventures, each a standalone story and more to come, Gator McBumpypants books are gifts that keep on giving.

Already own all the Gator McBumpypants books? I have designed Gator McBumpypants products over at Red Bubble. There are onesies for the babies and pillows, tote bags and many more fun products for Gator McBumpypants lovers of any age.

 

Looking for something unique, creative and fun?

Interested in unique art products for the creatives and fashion conscious on your list? Head over to Red Bubble. At Red Bubble art and photography can be purchased as prints, posters and cards, or products like tablet and phone covers, T-shirts and sweatshirts, and so much more. Simply click on one of the images to see all of the great products with that design on them.

Have a nature lover in your family? How about an animal calendar or a tote bag? You will find something for everyone over at Red Bubble.

 

There you go! Gifts for everyone. Now, think of all the free time you have to read, write, relax and reward yourself.

Merry Christmas              Happy Holidays             My Best to You and Yours