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Book Signing: Fun and Profit for Writers and Readers

Have you ever walked into a bookstore when an author is scheduled to do a book signing and found no one in the audience? Do you shy away from autograph tables, perhaps fearing that someone may ask you to buy a book? Consider the other side of the equation. A book signing is an opportunity to learn about the author and what makes a person undertake the challenge of writing a book. If you're a reader, you can delve into background information about the book. If you are an aspiring author, you can learn from another author's experiences. Every book signing is an opportunity to learn-without obligation to buy anything.

Book signings can be held almost anywhere. Is your book about gardening, nutrition, or money? Why not have an event at a large garden supply outlet, a spa, or a banking institution? Are you writing about an exciting period of music or interesting musicians? Then consider one of the big local music stores for the seminar. On the other hand, if you're a speaker or professional seminar leader, why not sign your books in a nearby bookstore in addition to selling them at the back of the room when you give your next presentation?

To help publicize a book signing, coordinate it with a special day, like Grandparents Day, or some topical holiday that has special meaning in context with the subject matter of your book. Several Internet web sites offer hundreds of dates that you can use for a public relations opportunity. Think of different and innovative ways to connect your book and your ideas to something that is already scheduled to happen in the area. For instance, if your book has anything to do with women's health, you may tie into a local Race for the Cure event, which supports research on breast cancer. Or, dream up a day of your choice to publicize your book. "Today is national TAKE CHARGE day!" Couple a book signing with seminars or speeches you have already scheduled, a family reunion, or other special event. Where would your target audience likely gather? Find that place and go there!

Provide a mini-seminar on the topic of your book. Some people in your audience may have already read it and want to pose specific questions. Prepare comments, anecdotes, and insights in advance. Greet your public enthusiastically and welcome their questions.

Book signings can be exciting for writers and readers and profitable for everyone.

Jo Condrill is a professional speaker, author, and consultant. She has conducted successful book signings across the US, including one in Rockefeller Center in New York City. "From Book Signing to Best Seller: An Insider's Guide to Conducting a Successful Low-Cost Book Signing Tour," which was coauthored by John B. Slack, was named the 2002 Best Writer's Reference Guide by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

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