By LeeAnn Lessard

 After years of being in the PR business I have set up more launches and book signing than I can count. Here are a few rules I go by to make it a successful signing:

1. When booking your signing always have your print ISBN(s) at hand and know who your distributor is. This will help the person setting up your signing.
2. Once you have set up your signing post it on your website in your events page and announce it on all the social media and reader loops you belong to.
3. A month before the signing call the store to make sure you are still on their schedule and they have ordered copies of your book(s). This might seem like a waste of time, but it isn’t.  I have had a lot of signings get bumped from a schedule and was never notified. This is also a good time to get the store policy on bringing in some goodies to give out during your signing like cookies or cupcakes.
4. Once you get confirmation from the store that your signing is still a go and they have ordered your book(s) then write up an email invitation and send it out to everyone you know. Don’t forget to include the date, time and directions to the store in your email.

5. A week before your signing call the store again to make sure they have received your books. The last thing you want is for there to be no books for your signing. 

6. This would also be a good time to ask the store if you could bring in some promo for the staff to give away in advance of your signing. It could be bookmarks or flyers announcing the signing. Some stores love these and some don’t allow it. Make sure to find out before bringing the promo to the store. The last thing you want to do is waste promo and your time.

7. On the day of your signing arrive 30 or so minutes early. This will give you enough time to introduce yourself to the manager and staff on hand as well as set up your table.

8. Bring a short bio of yourself and your books that the staff can read over their PA system if they have one.

9. If someone decides to come with you to keep you company that’s great, but don’t forget the reason you are in the store, to talk to the store’s customers and sell books.
10. Here is my last tip and that is to always bring a gift for the store staff. It doesn’t need to be big it can be a pan of brownies or cookies you made. Why the staff and not the manager? You could always bring a gift for the manager, but remember they are busy running the store it will be the staff who will hand sell any books that are left after your signing. So thanking them in advance is a good way for them to remember you in a positive way once you are gone

Of course these rules won’t guarantee you’ll sell out of books, but it will make for a better experience and will ensure that you are welcomed back for future releases.

If you have questions please post them in the comments section and I’ll try to get you some answers.


  1. What a great article -- if I ever get the courage to do a public book signing, I'm coming back to refer to this post. Thanks x

  2. I would like to host a book signing for a author(poet) who just won national attention for her work. We are from the same area in SC do you think she would be interested and how would I make the invitation?

  3. Is there a cost to have author for the signing? Do I have to have a ISBN? Does publisher provide posters & PR materials about the book?? Does publisher also post to their new book list? Awesome article.....


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