Wednesday Writers Wisdom: How I Acquired My B&N Book Signing by Beth Hammond
I am honored to have a guest post from our April Author of the Month, Beth Hammond. She recently had a book signing in Barnes & Noble, and I asked her to write about her experience for you.
Beth Hammond is an author/illustrator who writes anything from YA fantasy to children’s picture books. She is a wife, mother, and lover of life. Her early years were spent serving in the military. Her middle years spent raising babies and figuring out her place in the world. Her YA fantasy novel “The Sound Of The Stones” is newly released and available now. She created stories for her book loving children, “Do Your Toes Stink Good?”, “The Blond Korean and the Blue-Eyed frog”, “Puppy Waits”, and “Teddy Pink Nose”. Her later years are yet to come, and filled with hopes and endless dreams. She spends her days creating worlds through words and illustration.
How I Acquired My B&N Book Signing
So you want to get a coveted spot at Barnes & Noble to do a book signing? Here’s how I got one and a few dos and don’ts you should consider.
I’m published through a small publishing company but they distribute my book through Ingram. That’s important because rarely will B&N buy your books for the brick and mortar store unless you’re in that system.
Are you an Indy author? Fear not. I know a hand full of Indy authors have gotten in without being in the Ingram system but their stories are few and far between. If you’re self-published, Ingram Spark is an option for you and your book will show in the B&N system for wholesale purchase. Find more about that here -> http://www.ingramspark.com
Here are the steps I took:
- Once my book was published I waited until I’d gathered a handful of reviews and then started contacting B&N. I started here.
When I called each store I had them look up my book by ISBN and then asked if they would consider ordering it in. They usually gave me the direct number to the CRM of the store or their email. With that info in hand I set out to call and email each one. In the email I gave my book pitch and link to my book on the B&N website for their easy reference. Out of ten stores, one of them agreed to order in my book. I politely offered to come in for a signing any time. Alas, I had an event!
- As the date neared I made an event in Facebook about my signing, made a promo banner and posted a press release on any and all free event listing sites on the web. This was the style I used for my promo banner.
- I also had a large display banner made to set up next to my table. I made it in Photoshop and had it printed at Staples. After purchasing the print and banner stand it cost a total of $70. That’s ok though because I can use it over and over again. Here’s the banner I made.
Notice that I put review snippets on there. Potential customers who don’t know you like to see what others have said.
- I made sure I had bookmarks to hand out even to people that didn’t purchase my book. Put your info on them like a business card. Incorporate your book theme into it also. What book lover doesn’t like a free bookmark?
- I purchased candy to put on my table. Yes, I bribed them to come over and say hello.
The Do’s and Dont’s
I will leave you with a few final thoughts in the form of dos and don’ts of a book signing.
Do – Be persistent in contacting B&N. Be polite as you do it but always follow up several times.
Don’t – be rude to the CRMs of B&N…ever.
Do – Ask politely if your bookmarks can be given out at the register during your book signing. That’s good publicity.
Don’t – Sit behind the table during the entire signing. Make sure to get up, pass out bookmarks, and chat with people.
Do – Bring water and a light snack to stash under your table. Trust me.
Do – Make sure to thank the employees who help you set up and especially the CRM. I sent mine flowers the next week. She emailed me with a gushing thank you for it.
Now, go forth and get that book-signing event!