Book Signing Kit

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Over the past couple of years I’ve done countless book signings (I could actually count them and figure out a number but I’m too lazy, and countless makes it seem like I’ve done hundreds of them). Whether it was a solo book signing or one with Tim Baker  or at a convention, I always try to come up with a game plan to get me in and out of the event with minimal energy and manpower to do it. I also hate carrying heavy boxes of books. 

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My problem (and it is a good problem) is I can bring 45 print books with me to a signing. 45 different titles I am in. That is quite a few choices, although I don’t have all of them in bulk to sell. I usually have 10 different titles, sometimes 12… but then, when you carry a dozen copies of each, you run into carrying three boxes of books or more. Quite heavy. I have an old luggage dolly I use, but the wheels are getting stiff and it can only hold three of the smaller boxes. And it rattles if I pull it over uneven surfaces. 

I also make sure I have a pen in my pocket and some singles and fives for change. The pen is usually new, since I steal one each book signing from Tim Baker. I guess I could figure out how many signings Tim and I do based on the pile of pens on my desk at home. What else? Tim usually brings the table if we need one, and a couple of chairs. We all have boxes of bookmarks and business cards, and enough back stock in books to supply a bookstore. 

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But I’ve been to conventions where authors and publishers bring an entire small city of items with them, and it amazes me. The work involved to lug it in and out, especially if you only sell a few books. Ideally, leaving a signing with empty boxes is always the goal. 

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Here’s my question for those who do book signings, whether it is at your local bookstore, at a convention or just about anywhere else you sit down at a table and start peddling your wares: what do you bring along, and do you have a Book Signing Kit with items you have to have in it? 

Armand

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8 responses »

  1. I’ve only done a few book signings and conventions (not quite the countless you have!) but I’ve already come to appreciate the “what do I bring?” or more importantly “what do I NOT bring?”. Since I don’t have as many books as you do out, the bulk or lugging books is not as much of a hassle. (Also mine currently are sci graphic novels/ comics, so they aren’t as bulky to begin with.) So I get to focus on bringing some fun things to entice people (especially for conventions.) Once thing I had this year as SpringCon was a little playback monitor where I cycled the book trailer for HOLLOW over and over again. It REALLY got the attention of youngsters and teens, who, of course, love something like reminds them of television. It doesn’t take up much space and isn’t too heavy and TOTALLY worth the extra eyes on our table. Also, I always bring metallic Sharpies for signings, mainly because our books have glossy pages, so pens don’t work very well. It does make it harder for people to walk off with them though, as it’s not something they’d likely carry themselves.

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  2. I don’t take much: just one box of books, a few stands, and sometimes a plate of cookies (chocolate chip always wins). Cookies rope the kids in, and the kid drags the parent over, when they realize that I’m giving their kid messy snacks. One of the best way ever to sell books to strangers, that I’ve found. 😀

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  3. To promote Loathe Your Neighbor, I ran a competition. The prize was a Renovator. I had it on the table with a copy of all two of my books, and a bag of lemons. As with every thing I try re book promotions it was only moderately successful. Lots of people stopped to chat and a few looked at the books, but there were few sales. I never thought of cookies. Maybe next time. Here’s my post on my last signing if you’re interested. http://dacairns.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/the-last-hard-sell.html

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