Why I Hate Book Signings

Now I love books. I love bookstores. But what is the worst thing to watch is an unknown author trying to hold a “book signing.” Painful.

People who walk pass you in the bookstore are thinking this:

“I don’t know you. You are staring at me to buy your book. And I am supposed to get excited about getting an autograph? Please, I’d rather go to the dentist.”
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Well, how am I supposed to sell books?”
Heard of having a platform?  Heard of having a list of folks waiting to buy it because you’ve been talking about it for over 90 days – and giving out “tastes” of the book on your blog.
It’s really about having buyers lined up BEFORE the book comes out! Build anticipation. Build your tribe. Build your brand. Make yourself known through social media.

brian solis

Brian Solis blogs and “engages” in social media with GOOD content like a mad man. That’s why his books are best sellers.

Authors today need to know that the way we sold books five years ago, even 2 years ago, has changed dramatically.

Today, no one cares about new books – really.  There are over a half million new books published a year.

We live in the information age. People just want the information.

They want information – and they want it fast.  That’s why blogs and ebooks are so popular.

People can find what they want instantly – in many different formats, not just physical books.
Now, the book industry is not dead. It’s just changed.

People still go to book store and shop for books.

pam perry in barnes and noble
(Those like myself love to hang out in Barnes & Nobles for hours in the Starbucks area).

It’s a rejuvenating experience.

But, typically book signings of new authors have about 5 to 10 people come out (and those are family).

And if they get people to come and buy their book, it’s typically a sympathy sale.

Here’s why no one will come to your “book signing:”
1.    You are not a celebrity or well-known figure.
2.    You only sit down at a table and sign books. Yawn!
3.    You don’t entertain with some type of “seminar style event”
4.    You don’t have food – and promise it will be fun.
Really, have you ever been to a book signing of a new author?  How exciting was it?

Was it fascinating watching them sign books?
Or was it painful trying to keep conversation going because there were so few people there?

Authors, if you want to have a “book signing” here’s what you do:
1.    Don’t call it a signing, call it a book release party or book launch party. Have friends help you with it. Kinda like a “baby shower.”  (It is YOUR baby, remember?)
2.    Don’t read from the book. Prepare a short presentation from the book – use some audio/visual too if you can.  Speak for 15 to 30 minutes on the topic of your book and engage conversation from those who attend.
3.    Have food. Have sugar. Have tons of sweets. Have some soul food!
4.    Have entertainment. Comedians, singers – be creative. Tap dance if you can when you come out.
5.    Have drinks. Lots of coffee and if you can fancy drinks too.
6.    Take tons of photos – and do videos of everyone who attends.
7.    Make it memorable and do as much as you can to make it fun!


Most authors do book signings thinking this is the way to be a best-seller. 

This is completely opposite of the main things most best-selling authors tell new authors: Don’t waste time doing book signing or book tours. There is an better way with less stress and more sales!

Instead new authors should focus on:
1.    Doing blog tours and blogging
2.    Doing radio interviews on talk shows
3.    Writing articles and having them syndicated
4.    Doing a Twitter party
5.    Doing a Google+ Hang out (or several)
6.    Doing a series of Webinars
7.    Build your email list by giving out free GOOD content MONTHS before the book comes out
8.    Host other authors on your blog to discuss the topic of your book. Get their endorsement for your upcoming book
9.    Get reviews on Amazon before the book comes out
10.    Do live mini-seminars (and video tape them for social media)
11.    Do podcasts & do giveaways of Tshirts with your book cover on it. (It’s a really good cover right?)
12.    Create several book trailers, showcase your brand

See? There’s a lot to do besides doing a “book signing.” It’s good for the ego probably. But it’s really a big waste of time in terms of really getting out there.

My new “Get Out There” kit outlines all the ways to market and promote your book and build your platform. Get it here

get out there kit by pam perry

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  • Awesome information. Thanks so much Pam for posting a blog so relevant.

    • Pam Perry says:

      Thank Judy, these blogs are inspired from real conversations with clients or observations from those who are publishing books.
      Everyone wants to be a “best seller” but few know the process – and how things are done TODAY. Let me know what you’d like me to write about next. 🙂

  • Sandra Epps says:

    Just what I needed to read before the launch of my third book. As a Self Published Author, it is important to know that we must put in the work prior (before the book is printed) to sell the product (printed book) later. Some new authors have the idea if they WRITE IT, People Will Automatically BUY IT! Pam, your blog post remind us that this is not the case and that it is imperative that authors should establish prior relationships, begin their Branding early on and to create a networking base via Social Media Outlets: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Blog post, etc. to succeed as a Published Author.

    Thank you for the Focus Points and Tips!

    • Pam Perry says:

      Thanks Sandy! Yes, it’s all about getting a “tribe” before the book comes out – and being very strategic in who you engage with in social media.
      Too many others “play” on social media and never gain any traction for the book. Then they blame social media as being a “waste of time” and not helping them sell books.

      It’s a science – and an art. Gotta love it.

      Thanks for the comment. And get your gravatar. See this http://www.viddler.com/v/e3b58c08

  • Laura Lee says:

    I’ve had a few good book signings when they were part of a series that a popular store held. Leon and Lulu, which is not a book store, holds events where they get a bunch of writers in. I didn’t sell lots of books, but it was great for meeting people, which is important too. The signings I have done myself that have been successful were actually speaking engagements where I signed books after, and were at stores that do a lot of speaking events.

    I’ve done events that were not well attended that had ancillary benefits, though, because they create a news peg that can lead to media interviews if you do the PR.

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