Tips to Ensure You Have a Happy Book Signing

“I always do book signings with the same blue pen. That way, if I add a personalised message to a book I’ve already signed, it’ll be in the same colour as my signature.” — John Grisham

Chapters Bookshop
Chapters Bookshop

These tips are from research and from book signings I’ve done in small bookstores and at events. They’ll help you walk away from a book signing pleased.

 Book Signing Tips:

1. Schedule your signing as soon as you have your book’s release date.

• Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the manager, if possible.

• Give the manager one of your promotional postcards with the information necessary to order your book and contact you.

• Ask which are high traffic days and schedule your signing accordingly.

• Obtain the contact information of the person you’ll work with.

Drawing: Basket of Book-related Item
Drawing: Basket of Book-related Item

• Ask what they provide: table, table cloth, table location near traffic, press release, flyers, announcements on their website and social networks.

• Ask if you may bring such items as: banner, poster, a basket of book-related goodies for a drawing, candy, cookies, flyers, and bookmarks.


Between you and the store, provide a welcoming, customer-drawing book signing area. Click to tweet.

2. Promote your signing. Do what you can afford.

• Use your postcards as invitations to readers.

• Print flyers for the store to stuff into customers’ bags several days before the signing.

• Take your flyers to nearby businesses, such as beauty salons. Ask them to display one or keep a stack at their counter.

• Put interesting press releases in local newspapers.

2" x 3.5" Ad
2″ x 3.5″ Ad

 • Purchase a newspaper ad. Example from Calculated Risk.

• Check whether your publisher announces events on their media networks.

• Announce the signing on your website and social media networks.

• Announce the event at gatherings, such as book clubs.

• Ask friends to also do the previous two activities. 

3. Be active at your signing.

• Bring the staff doughnuts or a cake, thanking them for hosting you. Because you remembered them, they may recommend your book.

• Invite customers to an activity at your table, such as a drawing for a basket of goodies.

• Provide candy—chocolate and hard candy.

Dressed as Character from Book Cover (photo by Vie Herlocker)
Dressed as Character from Book Cover (photo by Vie Herlocker)

 • Dress as your character to start conversations. Include your headshot on your banner so customers know you’re the author.

• Stand in front of your table and hand out bookmarks. Invite customers to your table to enter the drawing, to enjoy a cookie or candy, or to take a giveaway.

• Listen to those who want to chat.


• Invite a friend to join you, one who has read and enjoyed your book. She’ll praise your book, hand out bookmarks while you’re signing or chatting, run for more books, and keep you from resembling a wallflower.

  4. Be active after the signing.

• Help clean up.

• Pay for leftover books the store would normally return to your publisher. Publishers may forbid returns if they receive too many.

• Be content with your sales. Even if you sold nothing, you’ve gained exposure. You’ve learned more about signings. You have fodder for your blog. You did the right things.

• Send the manager and staff a thank-you note.

 Even low-selling book signings can be a happy success. Click to tweet.

What tips can you share with us?