Thanks to author Kat Varn for this guest post!
As a newly published author, I knew I would eventually have to face a public appearance at a bookstore. I knew I’d have to do a book signing one day, and then it happened.
The weekend before I was to vacation in San Francisco, I isolated myself to dig up any online advice I could find on ‘how to perform at a book signing.’ My publisher had hinted they were trying to get me a signing while I was on the west coast.
As I jumped from website to website, my stomach nervously cringed. My inexperience raised questions faster than I could find the answers.
Ten days later, I was planning my reading/appearance at the Green Apple Bookstore at 6th and Clement Street. My husband and I took a cab to preview the location and get direction from our contact. The reading room was amazing and intimate. That brought my performance terror down a notch.
While lunch gurgled in my stomach, I made a trip to Kinkos to print documents, including a blog post I wanted to open with. I exhaled in an effort to get my nerves off the ledge as I dressed. I’d decided that I would always perform in my favorite red glitter stilettos. It would help me get in character—author.
Any script that I may have thought I’d prepared went out the window. The event was relaxed, spontaneous and I loved the questions.
So, what did I learn from my first book signing?
- Have fun engaging with the readers! Accept the spotlight but share the stage with potential followers. I wanted the room to feel like they were sitting with me in my living room.
- Prepare but be flexible. To read or not to read? I felt the pulse of the room and used the reading materials I’d marked in my book, but had that blog ready if I needed it.
- Let EVERYONE know where you’ll be. If this had not been so last minute, I would have used my social media more. One of the attendees turned out to be an old acquaintance I met on a dive trip in 2005. She saw the signing on Facebook only a couple hours before the event. Another other new reader was associated with my publisher and book coach. Subsequently, she followed me with a message on Twitter.
- Thank the organizer. I brought San Francisco’s Ghirardelli chocolate for the staff. I followed up with a thank you and tagged their bookstore in photos online.
Having experienced my first book promotion performance, I look forward to another. And yes, I will be wearing my glittery red heels!
Kat Varn’s love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. She’s been reading, journaling and writing ever since. Ameera Unveiled is her first book. Learn more at KatVarn.com