How to Turn Your Booksigning into a Sell-Out!
by Judy Azar LeBlanc

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Everyone loves a successful book signing! When I had my very first booksigning it was a total flop! Well, maybe not totally, the book store did order six books and I did sell two of them! But success comes after failure only if you try again.

So what went wrong? I asked myself. Several things went wrong. First, I didn't invite anyone to come to the booksigning; I didn't have any promotional material with me; I barely spoke to the customers because I "foolishly" thought they would all run up to my table to see what the book and author were all about, and the worst thing I did, was to stay sitting behind that little table for the whole two hours! Wrong -- wrong -- wrong.

Today, because of that failure, I have not had a booksigning anywhere that has not been a complete sell-out!

So, how did I go from being a complete flop to becoming a complete success? Here's how!

Where I live in Arizona, all of the Barnes and Noble Bookstores are independently run, whereas Border's Bookstores are centralized. That means that each Barnes and Noble bookstore decides independently on who, what, when and where and if they will authorize booksignings. In this case, it is important to get to know the "store" and the manager at each store. Establish a rapport with him or her, and give them a little background about yourself and your book. Don't be afraid to ask if you can have a booksigning at their store, or to emphasize the fact that you are a local author.

Because Border's Bookstores are centralized, that means that the Regional Manager decides on all of the booksignings for all of the stores. Here is where you really want to establish a rapport. I made it a point to do so with our Regional Manager and since then, she willingly books me at any of the Border's bookstores that I want. One consideration in choosing a store is demographics. Apparently, each bookstore sells a particular type of genre more than others. For example, where I live, the community is very family-oriented, so books on fantasy, child-rearing, and especially children's books are hot items. A few miles further south, there is a university town... and believe it or not, romance books are a hot item at that store!

Although The Regional Manager books all of the booksignings for all the stores, each Border's Bookstore handles the mechanics of the booksigning independently. Here again, it is important to get to know the store and the Store Manager because that means they give you a better location, more traffic gets directed to you, and more announcements are made about you over their loudspeaker.

Next, prepare... prepare... prepare. I can't say enough about this. We are published authors, which connotes "professionals"... Prepare for your book signing just as a professional would:

This may seem like a lot, but believe me, when it is laid out on the table, it isn't much. Keep in mind we are professionals, so everything you do, think like a professional.

Last but certainly not least... never sit at your table. Don't be shy; greet the customers as they walk by, smile, introduce yourself, hand them a flyer, and tell them that you are a local author who is having a booksigning today on behalf of (name of bookstore). Tell them a little about your book.

If you are like me, book signings are a lot of work, but they are also a lot of fun! You meet a lot of very interesting people, and even if they don't buy your book, they walk away with a flyer or a postcard and they will either read it or check your web page.

More importantly, when you are done, always thank the store manager and the staff who participated in your book signing. Never leave without a thank you and a hand shake.

Since I have practiced this... I have been invited back several times to most of the bookstores in my area, and now they order a minimum of about 25 books, and I always sell-out!

Good Luck and Happy Book Signing.

Find Out More...

40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an Event! - Larry James

Dreaming of Writer's Cramp: Signing at Bookstores and Beyond... - Peter Bowerman

How to Have a Successful Booksigning - MaryJanice Davidson

Tips and Tricks for Booksignings - Kim Headlee

Copyright © 2007 Judy Azar LeBlanc
This article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission.

Judy Azar LeBlanc was born in Raton, New Mexico, and was raised and educated in Albuquerque, and is an Honored Member of the Cambridge Who's Who, Toastmasters International, and the Arizona Author's Association. She is a graduate of San Jose University, in San Jose, California, where she did graduate work in Industrial Psychology. An award-winning author, her fourth and favorite title "Many Faces to Many Places" is preceded by "Things My Father Never Taught Me", "The Compromise," and "The Unveiling." LeBlanc is internationally published in the FONATUR Tourist Magazine, sponsored by the federal government of Mexico. Visit her website at


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