The Ultimate Checklist for Your First (or Fiftieth) Book Signing
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Let me be completely honest with you. I've been trying to write this blog for MONTHS now, and just never got around to it until today! I know there are plenty of new authors who have signed up for their first book signing and then thought, "well, now what?" I'm here to help you eliminate the guesswork on all the things you need to have for your first book signing! (Pause for applause, lol.) Even if you're reading this and you're thinking that you're a seasoned book signing guru, it never hurts to have a checklist you can refer to, right? Right! I'm going to list the things that I take to each of my book signings below, but you can click the image above to actually download your FREE CHECKLIST! Yes, I said free! (You're totally welcome!)
Books: (Seriously, no less than five copies each if you have multiple, especially if you write series like I do. If you're doing a book signing with only one book, at least try to have between ten to fifteen copies of the book. Depending on how long the signing lasts and how many readers are expected to attend, this number can go up.)
Goodie Bags: (These are optional, but I will say that people LOVE FREE STUFF! You want to make sure that when a potential reader stops by your table, they leave with something whether they made a purchase or not.)
Your gift bags can include the following: bookmarks, pens, magnets, business cards, stickers, mints or candy, just to name a few--Just make sure whatever you have has your branding on it (i.e. your website)
Branded Table Cloth: (While I do feel like this really brings the entire set up together, it's okay if you don't have it for your first one. If you don't have the resources to get a tablecloth with your logo on it, purchase a black fabric one from Walmart or Amazon.--Also, some book signing venues will provide a black table cloth for you.)
Speaking of table cloth, while this is highly unlikely, you may want to get a foldable table that you can keep in your trunk IF you know the venue you're having your signing at will not be providing a table. (NOTE: this isn't on my checklist, BUT I just added it here as an FYI)
Money: (This includes your money bag, change of no less than $50 in small bills, credit card swipers from either PayPal or Square, and a receipt booklet (which is optional)
Pens/Permanent Markers: (You can't show up to a book signing with nothing to autograph your books with.)
Business Cards: (I can't express how important having a business card is. Even if you don't have the resources to put together 50+ goodie bags, you at least want to make sure that you have free business cards to give to potential readers with more of your information on it.)
Don't forget your business card holder. It may look cluttered to potential readers if you have your cards spread out all over the table. Plus, it'll take up space.
Book Stands/Book Holders: (This could be optional or mandatory, depending on your outlook. I've seen people stack their books on top of each other and then use that as the backing to put one in front, or I've seen people lay their books flat out on the table. Personally, I use book stands. It's just my preference. You can purchase book stands on Amazon here.)
T-shirts/other things you sell outside of books: (If you're like me and you sell things other than books, then this tab is for you. You may not have to lay all of your T-shirts out on the table to let people know that you have them with you. For me, I put them on my price list--which I'll get to in a second, and keep them squared away underneath the table if I don't have room to neatly fit them on the table.)
Printed Price List: (This is probably one of the most important things you'll need. I've heard so many times how readers get upset when they can't figure out how much a book, shirt, etc. is. Create and print your price list and have it in plain sight on your table to again, eliminate as much guesswork as possible for potential customers.)
Flyers/paper giveaways with your catalog on it: (You can use a flyer to fit more information on than you can a business card. You can put discount codes for purchases from your website, the synopsis of your book, your events for the year, all the books in your catalog, etc.)
Retractable Banner/signage/tabletop banner: (This is another thing that may or may not be in your price range, but it is good to budget in, especially if you'll be doing a lot of signings where there will be multiple authors. You'll want your readers to be able to spot you out in a crowd. You can get a retractable banner from Vistaprint.)
Portable Chargers: (Nothing is worse than a dying phone or a dying card reader/Ipad when you're in the middle of your event. Make sure you have at least two portable chargers to keep your batteries full all day long.)
Bottle of water: (This is another thing that isn't on my list, but I think it's important. You're going to be engaging with readers from the start of your signing until the end. Keep a bottle of water beside your chair in case your throat gets dry.)
Sign up sheet for email subscribers: (If you have an email subscriber list, you may use your book signing as an opportunity to grab new ones to keep them updated on your new releases, appearances, and more. I've seen people have a simple piece of paper to authors who have an iPad set up to collect emails. Do whatever works for you.)
Gift bags for purchases: (When you do make a purchase, what will you put your book in? You can purchase gift bags from Amazon or your local office supply store.--just make sure the size you buy FITS your book.)
I hope this checklist has you feeling more prepared to tackle your first or next book signing! Download the free checklist here!