#IWSG: Are Book Signings a Thing of the Past?

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http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Insure Writer’s Support GroupPurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG will be Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson! 

New Blog Design:  Hope you like Romance Under Fire blog’s new design. I’ve been working on acquiring new images for posters, headers, and a book trailer. Muy mucho pesos, amigo. I managed to afford two images this month for this blog’s header. I’ll have to spread the cost for the remainder over several months. Wouldn’t you know I’d select iStock’s very best. Friends have recommended other sites which have cheaper subscriptions, but I couldn’t find ones that beat iStock’s quality. Did you find great images elsewhere?

 

Tip of the Month: I found a site called Query Shark that may critique your query letter. There are strict guidelines to follow in order to get your draft query accepted and posted and critiqued. I’ve reviewed some the recent posts. She identifies where the author needs to improve and how to amp up the tension. In other words, get the agent/publisher’s curiosity engaged. I can see why my query letters have not inspired agents to request my manuscript. I’ll back digging in deep with a rewrite. Here is the link:  http://queryshark.blogspot.ca/2007/07/instructions-for-submitting-work-to.html

Also, here is a website that is worth a look-see: Writers in the Storm.  Copied from Writers in the Storm website: “We are a group of seasoned writers. We write in different genres and bring unique perspectives and strengths to the table.

Along the way, we’ve discovered that there’s more to life than writing, and sometimes life can be the richest story of all.

We chose Writers in the Storm as the name of this blog because every writer must weather the storm within: self doubt, rejection, deadlines and balancing our writing passion with everyday life. Not to mention the storm raging outside – the paradigm shift in the publishing industry.

We began this blog in April of 2010. Over the years, we’ve narrowed our focus, to writing craft and inspiration. Many writers have helped us on the path, and we hope to give a hand back to aspiring writers.

Feel free to scan our archives – there’s tons of information there!”

Book signings, a thing of the past?

Recently, I paid to participate in a book signing, an annual community event. Several other local authors arrived and displayed their books beautifully. To draw a larger crowd, crafters had been invited; they brought an assortment of soaps, paintings, etc. The location was in the same building as a large library and centrally located within a booming city. Singers and musicians were listed to entertain the public. The organizers had food and refreshments on hand.  The event was well advertised.

We set up our tables, deco12091220_10207015929950429_4662201063871159012_orated with colorful posters. We waited. And waited. A few people ambled in as they left the library next door. They glanced at a few books but mostly just kept cruising to the exit doors. Musicians and singers were wonderful. A first nations dancer caught the attention of a few, mostly only those who wanted to have a photograph of them standing with the man in his colorful traditional ceremonial dress.

Did any authors sell books? A few, but most everyone said it was not worth the cost of renting the table, the display, and the car gas. The books that did sell were in the erotica genre, a relatively safe bet to receive the titillating rush, :).

This is the third time I attended this annual event. All previous events were just as disappointing.  The first time, I thought it was because we were too close to the library. People could get reading material for a year for the library’s small membership fee. The second time, I thought the poor sales was my fault. I wasn’t engaging enough, too engaging, or my table ‘s decorations failed to impress and invite. This third time, I’m baffled.

I did have a great time, mostly chatting with the other authors. All of us had written well, and debated on the subject material of our next novel. The favorite choice was to write a story about retired madames, and call it “Hookers R Us.”

If you’ve had a book signing, was it worth the effort? What is the key to a successful book signing?  Or is purchasing a print book on the way out?

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29 thoughts on “#IWSG: Are Book Signings a Thing of the Past?

  1. These kind of signings can cost way more than they produce. It always pays to go with other authors, the day passes more quickly. I find them very successful during the holidays, when everyone wants a reasonably priced gift, but it’s very difficult to justify the expense during the rest of the year. Just make sure you have flyers with buy information to hand out. You never know if they’ll change their mind later and look you up on Amazon Kindle. Approach the buyer, smile, catch they’re attention, and make sure they leave with your flyer, and a piece of candy. It’s the best you can do – good luck. I have one of these scheduled for Black Friday. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  2. HI Feather Stone. No, I only do one book signing right after my book comes out – it’s local and mostly it’s my friends that come and purchase my book. I think unless you’re extremely well known, book signings are not worth the time and effort. But that’s just me. Love the look of your blog, by the way.

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  3. Love the new design, Feather! How disappointing regarding the book signing attendance. I remember feeling the same way when I attended RT. I lugged a ton of books to Chicago and sold maybe one. Very humbling! But I have attended some more successful events, like Sassy in Savannah in October. The organizers did a great job advertising and there were over 300 readers in attendance. I’m not sure if you’ve attended a book blog signing event, but those tend to go better.

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  4. I feel your frustration, Judy. When I started out, book signings were THE way to get noticed. Now the just don’t seem worth the time and effort. Speaking or doing social media events seem to stimulate sales in a much greater volume. I think a lot of people are afraid to approach a large group of authors for fear they’ll be pressure to buy all the books (that would be nice!).

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    1. Ah, yes, I see your point about readers worried about being pushed into purchases. I don’t think any of us try to do that. I’m motivated first in just chatting with guests, letting them know who I am and what I write. If they buy my book, bonus.

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  5. My book signings go way better when they are in conjunction with a presentation about my books. I recently spoke at a library, and people were buying books before I even took to the podium!

    For a book signing only, I sell way more books and get much more engagement when it is at night rather than during the day, and especially when there is wine and cheese available! If you can sell your books during a First Thursday at an art gallery that offers a little vino, folks are much more likely to chat, browse and buy!

    When it’s a book signing only, and it’s during the day, it’s harder to draw people in for some reason, and it can be very frustrating!

    ~Tui, @TuiSnider on Twitter, dropping by from #iwsg to say hi!

    p.s. I also lead #StoryDam writing chat each Thursday 8pm ET. Feel free to pop by sometime and say hi. It’s a really fun group and we’re all about helping each other out. In fact, I plan on pointing to your post during tomorrow night’s chat!

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  6. I have always used BigStock.com for images. I like the fact you buy a subscription, or you can just buy credits to apply so you are not stuck with a monthly fee. I have found nice ones at morguefile.com and photopin,com too. Also used Dreamstime, which you can find through morguefile.com and a few others with subscription–iStock being one of them.

    Your blog looks nice.

    Book signing sounds like it would be fun, sorry to hear it not really worth the expense.

    Juneta Writer’s Gambit

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  7. I sent a query to her last year, but she never got to mine. Darn. I hate writing them. But it’s not as if there aren’t a ton of sites that illustrate exactly how to succeed at writing a query letter. As for book signings, I’m not sure. I’ve had success and failure. Someone said there was over 1000 readers at John Grisham’s. Can’t imagine.

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    1. Apparently the ‘Shark’ is pretty picky about who she selects to critique. Has to be unusual, or illustrates a unique problem. Re book signings, I think I may continue but with the objective to enjoy the experience and collaborate with other authors.

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  8. I went to one just like that – in fact, so much like that, that I wonder, were we at the same event?
    Except I did sell five books – not a lot, but enough to cover gas money. The table at the one I attended was free. I gave out bookmarks and such. I met other authors and readers, and decided that it was fun enough to do again next year. However, I did send some feedback (when asked) to the organizer – I think it could have been more engaging to have some author/writer panels or special speaker type things for readers. I’m not sure that would have made it better for sales, but I would hope so.

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  9. New blog design looks great, Feather. Book signings like the one you mention really can go either way. I’ve never rented a table, but have gone to events where I’ve only sold a few books. I’ve always made new connections and even if readers only grabbed a bookmark, I figure participating in the event helped to get my name out there.

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  10. I think it depends. I’ve seen signings that don’t have a huge turnout, but I’ve also seen lines and lines. Obviously, I think it depends on how visible the author is before the signing.

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  11. I went to one last winter where it was the same thing – well planned, publicized, etc. etc., but it ended up being mostly just attended by the writers. It was fun and free for me to attend, but a big time cost.

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