4 Ways to Impress at Your First Book Signing

Your first book signing is an important part of your book’s marketing plan — and an exciting marker of success. It’s your chance to celebrate all the late nights and endless hours you put into your book, to interact with adoring fans, and to hook new readers.

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Knowing how to prepare for your signing can help you stay focused, confident, and ensure your event is a success. Here are 4 ways you can make a great impression and sell more books at your first book signing. 

Get Creative with the Venue

The first step to planning a successful book signing is securing a fitting venue for your book’s audience. Although a bookstore or coffee shop can be an easy choice, thinking outside the box to pick a venue that correlates with your book’s topic could create a more unique and memorable experience for your fans. Plus, this will free-up your options if the local bookstore’s event calendar is packed.

If the theme of your book is cooking, consider hosting your signing at a local restaurant or kitchen store. If your book is about scaling all the 14er’s in Colorado, you could host your signing at a local outdoors store, or at an outdoor venue near a trail head.

Plan Ahead

Since most bookstores or other hosting venues set their event calendars months in advance, be sure to get in touch with the venue well ahead of your event date.

Before you pitch your book signing, have a professional portfolio prepared. Include a copy of your book and a press release that explains what your book is about, and your credentials as a self-published author.

Don’t forget to demonstrate how you’ll bring in a crowd — include the work that you’ll be doing to publicize the event to prove to the venue it will be worth-while to host your book signing.

Stay Organized

When the big day comes, it’s your time to showcase your personality and inspire your fans. Staying organized will help eliminate potential distractions, which will also help you stay focused and confident so you can wow your audience.

Here are a few tips to ensure your signing goes smoothly:

  • Bring a friend to take care of book sales so you can focus on meeting fans and signing your books
  • Bring an email list signup-sheet for readers to join your email list
  • Bring lots and lots of books — you don’t want to run out during your signing, so bring as many as you can. Store a box in your car for backup if you need.
  • Create a bookmark to place in all your books in advance that has your author website and social media information

If your author website isn’t up-to-snuff to hook new readers, here are 5 author websites that can inspire your own.

Show Gratitude

Showing gratitude can go a long way as you build your repertoire as an up-and-coming author. Saying thank-you is the best way to make a great impression and receive an invitation back to the venue.

Thank everyone for coming to your event when you sign your book.  Write personal notes to anyone who helped make your signing a success – your friend who helped you sell your books, the venue host, and any local media personnel who may have covered the signing.

Getting prepared for your first writer’s conference presents a new list of challenges for self-published authors. From how to dress to what to bring, here are 6 ways to successfully prepare for your first writer’s conference.

Adam user

President & CEO,
Steuben Press

Adam Ellis has worked in the book industry since 2002, when he was first exposed to the wonderful world of Self Publishing. Over the years he has worked with thousands of authors and helped to produce, print and publish countless books.


Adam Ellis and his staff are amazing. I had complete cooperation and help throughout the process. I can't say enough. If anyone needs a reference, I am here. They did everything to help me finish my mother in law's story of her life efficiently and quickly. Thanks Adam!

– Mary Ralian, Pewaukee, WI

Mary Ralian's book is titled Anna's Story.