My First Book Signing

I’ve shared already that I had my first book signing today (March 16, 2013) and how excited I was about it. Here’s what I’m going to cover in this post:
How I chose the venue
How I advertised the book signing
Who was my primary audience
Did anything surprise me
The best and worst parts

How I chose the venue

The venue I chose was a new (by new I mean, they opened in February 2013) book store/writing center. The wonderful woman who owns the store is a true advocate for local authors, whether through a publisher or self-published. Sherry, the owner of the store, offered her store front with a nice banner and spread the word about my book signing to anyone who came in her store. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best conversationalist but Sherry really opened up and allowed me to feel welcome in her store.

My advice? Find someone like Sherry. She’s an author, book lover, mother, and most of all, a good person. If you can find a venue with the manager or owner who is willing to provide you a space to sit, a place to really talk to your customers without interfering (and even encouraging the conversation), and someone who is willing to help you learn what you need to do for your book signing, USE THEM!

Cost: $10 non-refundable security deposit for 5 hours (with customers having a very comfortable couch and chairs to relax on as I talked about my book!)

How I advertised the book signing

The obvious things I did was create a Facebook Event (you can check it out by visiting: Facebook). I used my author’s Facebook page (you have one…right?) and invited the people who already like my author page and then invited my Facebook friends list who lived in the city I did OR surrounding areas. Facebook…check. What else did I use?

Twitter is something that I’m relatively new to. I’m learning the #use #of #hashtags (kidding), and I focused on people in my city ONLY. Why only? Because I didn’t know the hashtags for other cities near me. (I’ll explain more in the what I did wrong section below).

Word of mouth, this was actually the most effective way. I’ve found that a lot of my fans don’t regularly check Facebook and some don’t have twitter. I called, texted, and talked to people at my local University, the library, and more. I only mentioned it once to people and let them decide for themselves on if they wanted to come or not.

A local newsman (not an official journalist) wrote an article about my book signing. This was probably the highest amount of traffic, BUT I saw no one who said they came because of this article. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t productive, it just means that his audience wasn’t the same as mine.
Who was my primary audience

My primary audience is quite tricky to explain. I can probably explain it in one word, everyone. I’ll explain more on this in the “What I did wrong” section below…

Did anything surprise me

Short answer? Hell Yes. Let me explain by giving you two examples of what threw me for a loop.


My first book, Survival of the Unfittest, is more or less about conspiracy, chase, and zombies. What age group do you think that would fit in? To me, I thought 17 – 50 age groups. Here was my surprise, a 90-year-old woman with no grandchildren (I asked!) came into my store slouched over with a cane in her hand. By the looks of her I thought she was there to just browse around the store, maybe pick up a nice romance novel or a non-fiction. However, without looking around she came straight to my table and said, “I would like to buy your book.”

I was FLOORED! This 90-year-old woman (age is a guess) was coming all the way in here just to buy MY book? I assumed it was for a child or grandchild, so I asked her who I should make the signing out to. She told me it was for her, but I didn’t have to put her name in it if I didn’t want to. I insisted that I put her name in it to be a customized signature just for her. She thanked me and told me her name.

In the note I wrote out to her, I wrote: “To probably my oldest fan, Brandon Wright” with a generic “Thank you for supporting my writing adventure.” She smiled after she read it, picked up a free bookmark (passed on the free post card) and shook my hand before she thanked me and left.

Here is what is mind boggling for me, she took the time to come into a book store to buy my book and get my signature, and thanked ME for it? I had to correct her for sure, “M’am, I want to thank you for taking the time to come out here today.” She smiled and said, “No need to thank me, I’m the one who is honored to see a young man (btw, I’m not THAT young) prove to the world that you can and will follow your dreams. You are an inspiration to me and I have started writing my own book.”

My Surprise? This woman, at a very late age, has decided to start her journey on achieving her life-long dream of writing a book. I will probably remember that for the rest of my life!

Now on to the good parts!

What I did right, and what I did wrong.

The Wrong
My audience was “Everyone” when it should have been people that enjoy my genre
I didn’t utilize twitter correctly
I wasn’t very active on my Facebook event
I ordered too many books (50)

The Right
I ordered too many books (I’ll explain in a second)
I didn’t PUSH the book signing on anyone. I presented the information and left it at that.
I chose a FANTASTIC venue
I posted, after the event ended, that I will still be signing and sending out signed copies to anyone who wants one.

“I ordered too many books” is in both Wrong and Right…why?

A friend of mine works for a publisher and he said, “Have as many books as there will be people +10% more.” It’s fantastic advice. Why? Even if you don’t sell out (I only sold 15 books), now you have books to sell OR give away in contests. People love free stuff, and will give you precious e-mail addresses, fill out surveys, and more for a free book. I’ve also heard of people “accidentally” leaving a copy behind at a doctor’s office (mine wouldn’t be appropriate at a pediatrician’s office, so please be wary of where you accidentally leave a copy). It gets your name out there, and gets people talking about your book.

I hope you enjoyed my rambling about my experience on my first book signing! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment on this post or ask me on Twitter or Facebook!