Though I had gotten good tools from my publisher for my first book signing, I searched online for assistance with a book signing involving a self-publishing house, and couldn’t find much. Having never done this before, I looked online for things like “preparing for a book signing,” and got some great advice. Clearly, self-published authors can face a rude awakening for their first book signing if they aren’t prepared from day one. Here is what I discovered beyond what I found online: dealing with the self-publishing house.
First, make sure you see the proof of the book before you put in a full order for them. Not an online proof, but the book itself. For my novel, The Silent Partner, I reviewed both the hardcover and softcover before I let the publisher send my copy order to print. If there’s anything you missed, this is the last time to change it, or discover something on the publisher’s end that went awry. Refuse to sign off on anything until you carefully review these.
Next, order enough books. No one wants to keep dozens of filled boxes of their work in their garage (I don’t even have one), so it’s easy to understand going easy on the book ordering. However, it would be equally as tragic to run out of books at a signing as it would be if no one showed up. Be prepared for “showtime.” If there are only crickets at the signing, there are always bookstores looking for good books, even on consignment. Plus, there’s always more signings . . . unless your first experience is so bad you decide to hang it up. (I’ve already prepared for this, and won’t hang anything up. I’ll have plenty of bourbon and red wine at home.)
Be prepared for the house to try to sell you EVERYTHING. From book listings to the services of a publicist and TV commercials, they have every desire possible to sell books, too. Books bought directly from the publisher (and not discounted on 3rd party sites like Amazon or B&N) have the highest profits for them, and the self-publishing houses seek authors who are anxious to get their books seen and purchased. There is no moral or ethical question about this, but it’s important to be prepared for it. You may need to put money aside for such extravagances.
If your book is to be posted on any 3rd party sites, confirm that the correct book description and “about the author” is used. (I had a number of instances where unapproved book descriptions were used and the “about the author” that I had supplied the publisher wasn’t used, but rather an outdated one from my blog (which has since been updated). Seriously, these details matter.
Next, make sure your books are ordered and on their way to your address before you solidify a book signing date. With all of the other preparations, who needs the stress?
If one of these steps helps another author, I’d be ecstatic. Learning along the way. I’ve never expected it any different. In the end, it’s all about the work being read how it was intended. And that time is almost near:
What: Book Signing Release Party: Terrence King’s The Silent Partner
Where: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore: 7051 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92111.
When: Saturday, August 4th, 2012. 2:30pm
The first 25 people receive a free softcover of the novel.