The Basics of Book Signings

Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of romance novels.

Like most people, I have a favorite book, a favorite genre,
and of course, a favorite author. As someone who found
my favorite author seven years ago, when I was just
thirteen years old, I’ve always imagined what it would be
like to meet her in person. There are events out there that
make the dream of meeting your favorite author become a
reality for many readers: Book Signings.I had the opportunity to go to a huge book signing last July in Denver, Colorado.

It was one of the best and most overwhelming experiences in my life.

At Book Bonanza there were over 160 authors and 2,000 readers. Luckily, I
had my mother who is an expert at navigating signings with me. However, many people go alone. That is why together my mother and I have compiled a list of tips that will help you navigate signings in an organized, fun and timely manner.

  1. Patience
    Book signings can take a while, especially larger ones. Many times, you find yourself waiting in line for the doors to open and then you find yourself waiting in long lines to see everyone you want. It can be frustrating to stand there for so long but BE PATIENT. Meeting the one person who’ve been dying to meet is always worth it in the end.
  2. Label Your Books
    This is a tip my mom learned long ago at her first book signing: label your books. Take a sticky note, label it with who you want the book made out to and stick it on the page you want signed. This saves the author the time of searching for the title page and it ensures that your name will be spelled correctly.
  3. Interact with Other Readers
    You can learn a lot of new things from people you have never met and many times they will recommend authors and books you haven’t heard of before. My mom has made many lasting friendships just by talking to people behind her in line at book events.
  4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
    You will be standing for long stretches of time and it is best to wear shoes that will keep you comfy while you’re doing it.
  5. Take Pictures
    Many readers are worried that their favorite authors won’t want to stand for a picture. BUT THEY DO. I promise you that they are there because they want to be, and they understand that taking pictures is part of the process.
  6. Be Organized
    For most signings, after you buy a ticket you are given a map and schedule of the event. Take the map with you and highlight which tables you need to go to first. For Book Bonanza, it was a two-day event with three signing times. My mom and I made sure to highlight who we each wanted to meet and then we split up those we had met before or weren’t so set on meeting. Doing this, we met 38 out of 40 authors on our list. Be organized.
  7. Talk to the Authors
    Most people are scared to meet their favorite authors because they are going to freak out and scare them. DO NOT WORRY. The thing I have heard from authors time and time again is that they are just as excited to meet you as you are them. Authors want to meet the people that buy their books and support them. They appreciate you and all of your emotions.
  8. Manage Time
    We already talked about managing your time, but also be mindful of the authors time. If there is a long line behind you, please do not monopolize the authors time and spend 20 minutes talking to them. The best thing to do is have quick convos while getting the books signed, snap a picture and then come back later when the line has died down.
  9. Bring the Necessities
    Water and phone chargers. If you plan on spending a long time at the event, plan to bring a phone charger and water. Most places have an area to go and buy snacks, but it is always best to bring your own and stay prepared.
  10. Explore Other Authors
    This advice came from my dad, so you know it’s important. You will see the authors who have no lines at their tables. These are often obscure authors that not many people have heard of. Go talk to them. They want to talk about their books and sometimes you can find your new favorite series simply by talking to a less popular author. In essence, book signings are meant to be memorable and exciting. Do not get too caught up in the stress of the crowds or the time limit you have at each table.

Enjoy your time and be sure to take many pictures. I met my favorite author at her own book signing. Despite the stress I felt at such a large event, it was the best time of my life! Happy hunting!

By our lovely contributor Taylor Hulsey.

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