Advice to authors about doing autographs at book signings and other appearances from a publishing professional.
What authors should know about autographing their published books at public events.
Book signings are an important part of every author’s publishing success. Following are important suggestions for every author to remember when making appearances.
General tips for author autographing events:
—Look people in the eye and smile!
—Don’t make unnecessary requests of your host or hostess. Too many authors get a bad reputation by demanding rare beverages, hard-to-locate snacks, or items beyond their sponsor’s budget. If you have particular needs, take your own items. Believe me, hotel and event staff will remember any bad behavior and tell stories about you for years, which could become broadly distributed as your career progresses.
—Stand, don’t sit. Too many authors remain safely seated behind a table, which makes you appear unapproachable. Position yourself beside, or better yet, in front of the table, particularly when there is a lull in the autograph line.
–Ask if it is possible to have a tall table or even a podium so that you can stand as you do your autographing.
—“Press the flesh” and initiate friendly conversations with nearby patrons, even if they aren’t in line for your autograph.
—Smile often! You’d be surprised at the great number of authors who never smile at these events.
—Be interested in the people who approach you. By focusing on your readers, you are less focused on yourself and your own discomfort will lessen.
—Bring along a favorite pen and at least one more for backup. Choose one that you can hold comfortably, performs the way you like, has your preferred ink color, ink flow, nib thickness, etc.
—Look each recipient in the eye and smile as they approach you.
—Say thanks and smile again as you hand your autographed book to the recipient. Remember that these people are your book-buying public, the ones who make your writing career a success.
—Don’t autograph someone else’s book, even if asked. (Strangely, this happens more often than you might think. I don’t know the thinking behind this request.)
—Smile and remain courteous, even if you feel someone has behaved inappropriately towards you.
—Relax and enjoy the event. Making this appearance means that you have achieved your dream—a book publishing career.
—Say thank you to your event sponsors, your publisher’s PR person and anyone else who helped with your author appearance. An attitude of gratitude goes a long ways towards furthering your career, believe me.
Connecting with others through your writing was the reason you wanted to become a published author in the first place. Keep these simple tips in mind, and you and your public will have an enjoyable experience as you further your readership though book signings.
Copyright 2006 by Barbara Doyen. All rights reserved.
Do you know where to autograph your book?