Senin, 16 Juni 2008

Book Signing: Fun and Profit for Writers and Readers

Have you ever walked into a bookstore when an author is scheduled to do a book signing and found no one in the audience? Do you shy away from autograph tables, perhaps fearing that someone may ask you to buy a book? Consider the other side of the equation. A book signing is an opportunity to learn about the author and what makes a person undertake the challenge of writing a book. If you're a reader, you can delve into background information about the book. If you are an aspiring author, you can learn from another author's experiences. Every book signing is an opportunity to learn-without obligation to buy anything.

Book signings can be held almost anywhere. Is your book about gardening, nutrition, or money? Why not have an event at a large garden supply outlet, a spa, or a banking institution? Are you writing about an exciting period of music or interesting musicians? Then consider one of the big local music stores for the seminar. On the other hand, if you're a speaker or professional seminar leader, why not sign your books in a nearby bookstore in addition to selling them at the back of the room when you give your next presentation?

To help publicize a book signing, coordinate it with a special day, like Grandparents Day, or some topical holiday that has special meaning in context with the subject matter of your book. Several Internet web sites offer hundreds of dates that you can use for a public relations opportunity. Think of different and innovative ways to connect your book and your ideas to something that is already scheduled to happen in the area. For instance, if your book has anything to do with women's health, you may tie into a local Race for the Cure event, which supports research on breast cancer. Or, dream up a day of your choice to publicize your book. "Today is national TAKE CHARGE day!" Couple a book signing with seminars or speeches you have already scheduled, a family reunion, or other special event. Where would your target audience likely gather? Find that place and go there!

Provide a mini-seminar on the topic of your book. Some people in your audience may have already read it and want to pose specific questions. Prepare comments, anecdotes, and insights in advance. Greet your public enthusiastically and welcome their questions.

Book signings can be exciting for writers and readers and profitable for everyone.

By Jo Condrill

Book Signing for Experts

Think of your book on the bookstore shelf trying to attract the attention of potential new owners. Crammed together with hundreds of other books, only the spine visible to the roving eyes of readers, your book needs a little help from its creator. So much effort has gone into publishing it; can you afford to abandon it just as it hits the bookstore shelves? Your book needs your help.

Why not orchestrate a publicity-generating event such as a book signing with a mini-seminar, discussion, or reading where you can autograph your book? You can make a book signing tour worth your effort. If you are a new or emerging author with a small publisher, resources for promoting your book are likely to be very limited. If you are a professional speaker and an author, you can raise your celebrity status by doing a book signing in cities where you speak.

A book signing in a bookstore places your book "center stage" for a while, away from the crowded shelf. The event establishes a "pull" system which means the bookstore and its patrons ask for your books rather than the author and publisher having to persuade the bookstore to stock them. The author arrives as a celebrity.

There are many other venues in addition to bookstores. Jon Hanson, author of Good Debt Bad Debt, spent a lot of time writing in a coffee shop bakery. So many customers stopped by his table to check on the book's progress that the owner of the coffee shop asked Jon to do a signing when the book was published. Bagels and Books?

If your book is nonfiction, conversations with your audience will indicate that you are a source of expert information. You have done a lot of research in this area. You may become a key resource in their future exploration of the subject matter. People generally take pride in having met and discussed a book with its author. There is reflected glory which sets that person apart from other readers and gives them a connection to the source.

If you're not doing book signings, you may be leaving money on the table, overlooking an avenue to increase profits. There are many ways to promote your book, but none is as "up close and personal" as a book signing event.

By Jo Condrill

Comments From A Book Reviewer

For the past several years I have been reviewing books for my own site,, as well as many other sites. I am also a regular contributor to the Canadian Book Review Annual. As editor of, I would like to make a few comments about book reviewing and what to expect, particularly from

Today, with the advent of the Internet, there has been a proliferation of book reviewers, whom I shall classify as the good, the bad and the ugly.

Those falling into the last category are those that you have to be particularly on the look out for, as their only interest is to receive complimentary books without bothering to review them, or if they do review them, their reviews are very short and without substance. On the other hand, there are many serious and excellent reviewers who devote a great deal of their time and energy in reading and writing a review.

Sometimes, I admit, the reviews are not exactly very complimentary. However, it is to be noted that it is not the objective of a reviewer to be a salesperson or a public relations representative for the author. If the criticism is constructive, a great deal can be learned from the review, particularly if the reviewer is also an author.

From the point of view of a reviewer, what I find most annoying is receiving a book without first asking me if I would accept to review it. Bookpleasures receives on average about 10-15 email requests per week. Generally, I personally accept a few to review, others, I forward onto Bookpleasures' international team of reviewers.

In all probability, there is a 20%-30% chance that a request to review will be accepted by a reviewer.

The reason why a book is not accepted is wide and varied. Many of our reviewers have a backlog that they would like to clear before accepting new assignments, or the subject matter is not one that interests any of them.

What I like to see in a request is not "hype" but rather a brief resumé of the contents of the book, who the author is, if the book is published by a main stream publisher or is it self-published, and if the book is available on Amazon.

Bookpleasures also conducts e-interviews with some authors, and if the author is open to have himself or herself interviewed, please indicate.

If you are a publicist or publisher, don't be afraid to put Bookpleasures as well as other book reviewing sites on your emailing list. You never know when something catches our eyes. Sometimes you may be publicizing a particular book, and our reviewers will look to your site and see something else that interests them.

As for the time frame, this all depends on the reviewer. Anywhere from one week to three months is the norm. You can ask the reviewer to give you some idea as to his or her time frame. You can also inquire as to his or her credentials. Bookpleasures does provide links to the reviewers' site that should give you some idea as to their experience.

I do hope this is of help to some of you.

By Norm Goldman

FAQs about Book Signings

Since I self-published my first book, "101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly," in 1998 and began doing book signings shortly afterward, many people have asked:

1. What do you get paid to do a book signing?

It depends on where the book signing occurs. Most bookstores do not pay authors to do a book signing. Linda Ligon, Interweave Press, says that her authors are paid an honorarium by craft stores. The "pay" is most often an opportunity to interact with readers, increase the sales of your book, and enhance your status as an expert.

2. How much money do you make on a book signing tour?

It depends-and you may never know precisely. It depends to a large extent on how well your events are publicized because more people attend when excitement is created about the event. It depends on your presentation and interaction with the audiences. You may know how many books were sold during the event, but that is not the end of the story. One bookseller says that more than 60% of the sales are made after the author leaves the store.

3. Why would anyone go to a book signing?

To meet the AUTHOR! In many sections of the country, just being an author makes you a celebrity. You are the authority. Having an autographed copy of your book sets the reader apart. In one city a lady purchased several copies of "101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly." With each request, she told me something about the recipient so that I could tailor my comment for that individual.

4. What's in it for authors who do a seminar or talk on their book?

By presenting a mini-seminar or discussion at a book signing, you demonstrate your knowledge on the topic. You can elaborate on the contents and tell stories about things that happened while you were in the writing process. You also have an opportunity to develop a rapport with the readers allowing them to experience you as a "real person." Event sponsors will like you because you have provided a free service for their clientele. They will be most likely to welcome you back with your next book.

5. What if nobody shows up? Even celebrity authors occasionally have a "no show," so don't give up! The most important thing is how you react when nobody shows up. Keep smiling and draw on your positive mental attitude. Often people will be in the aisles between the shelves, not wanting to be the first to step forward. Walk over to the section where your book would be, introduce yourself to people there, and invite them to the presentation. Offer them a free flier or handout. After the event sponsor has read the introduction you provided, wait a few minutes, and then begin your presentation at the appointed time with a welcoming message. If a microphone has been provided, use it. If no one shows up after two or three minutes, bring your talk to a close with an invitation to people milling about to visit the table later. Usually, managers will ask authors to sign some extra copies. Be gracious and uncomplaining. Later, review your actions and see what might be improved upon.

6. How do you find the time to set up a tour?

Conducting a book signing is like presenting a play. There are several roles-the author designs the tour (venues and dates), prepares a mini-seminar, discussion, or speech, and does the signing. The support staff makes the contacts and provides publicity material, orchestrates the travel details, and does the follow-up to be certain that everything is synchronized. A separate person or company may be involved in the publicity effort, depending on the expertise of the support staff.

7. Assuming that you have had "no shows," what's the best book signing event you have ever held?

It is seldom that a "no show" occurs. The best book signing event I have had was at a large Barnes and Noble bookstore in El Paso, TX, where I signed "Take Charge of Your Life." The event was preceded by interviews on three television shows (affiliates of national networks) and a radio interview. The El Paso Times newspaper published an article about the book on the day of the signing. It was on the front page of the "Living" section with a color photo of the book cover. That evening, after the bookstore staff brought all the chairs in the store into the presentation section, people were standing along the sides. Most of the audience stood in line long after the presentation to talk with me and get their books autographed. You, too, can have such events. We can help you.

By Jo Condrill

Why Writers Dont Do a Book Signing

Whenever someone suggests you do a book signing and you do not want to, here are five reasons you can give them:

1) It's not worth the time; there's not enough money in it.

2) Speaking is where the money is.

3) You have more important things to do.

4) When you do a book-signing, maybe nobody will show up and you'll feel foolish sitting there all alone.

5) There are other ways to sell books.

Then,again, there are five good reasons why all authors should do a book signing and a book-signing tour.

By conducting a book-signing you will:

1. Gain recognition. When you do a book signing in a bookstore, you will be interacting with the people who sell your books to the general public. It's an opportunity to develop a rapport with them, tell them about the book, and convince them that you are an expert on the subject. Then when someone asks for a book on your topic, they are likely to recommend yours. Don't settle for bookstores. Look for places where readers of your book are likely to gather and schedule an event there. That place might be a store, craft shop, pro shop, spa, festival, or health care center. Do some brainstorming with your staff and friends.

2. Gather input from readers. When you step into the book-signing arena, you have an opportunity to interact with readers. You are the center of attraction, since you are the author/expert. By providing a mini-seminar or discussion, you give a sneak preview of your book and your expertise. Add a question and answer segment and you will learn what interests the readers most. It may be the beginning of a sequel.

3. Have an event that is newsworthy and gather clippings for your scrapbook and poster board. Book signings provide an event that is newsworthy. This is especially valuable if you are not yet a celebrity. Celebrities do book signings for primarily the same reasons emerging authors do, an opportunity to be noticed and quoted and appear in the media. Gather comments of those who have already read your book and can post them, with permission, until you get print media coverage to add to your display. People are very interested in knowing what other people think of your work. Create a foam board for publicity. Place on it reviews, readers' comments, excerpts from your book, and your photo. Stand the board on the autograph table on an easel so that passersby can see it prior to your signing.

4. Conduct media interviews. The most successful book signings have the most publicity. Since your schedule is generally set up at least six weeks in advance, you have time to approach radio talk show hosts and producers, television stations, and newspapers to let them know that you will be in their city. A well-thought out Media Release is a must. It should contain information about the book, the author, and the event.

5. Expand your contact list. Book signings are a great way to expand your mailing list. Use a sheet of paper on the autograph table with column headings like: Name, Email address, Phone number. Usually, the less information you request, the more names you will collect. You can get more information as you develop a relationship with these individuals. It is a good idea to provide something free, such as a bookmark, with a quote from the book and your contact information on it.

Add the adventure of book signing and book-signing tours to your marketing list to create memorable moments that far exceed routine marketing methods.

By Jo Condrill

Book Events - Make Yours Successful

A book event (a book signing) is a popular way for authors to create awareness for their work. Most large publishing houses require authors to participate in a 10-city book tour, at the minimum. For self-published authors, it's a good idea to arrange as many events as your time and budget allows. But, no matter who's making the arrangements, there are five key ingredients to making the event a success:

1. It is very important to plan your book event carefully. This means knowing exactly what you're going to say and how you will say it. Some authors believe that they can just wing it, relying on the audience to provide questions for discussion. Leaving the content to the audience to define is a poor idea. The author should take the lead. Audiences are there to hear more about the book, usually before they buy it. Have a plan for what you are going to say. You'll feel much more confident, and then if the audience is familiar with you and your writing, you will have that much more to enrich your talk. Remember the purpose of the book event: you are there to convince people to buy your books. Be prepared, and don't leave things to chance!

2. Keep it interesting, build a relationship with the audience, and leave them wanting more. More, is for them to purchase a copy of your book. If you've written a book, then you have a story to tell. Connect with the audience, take them into the palm of your hand, and make them want to hear the end of the story.

3. Practice so you are natural, be consistent with who you are as a person. Even the greatest speakers practice their speeches before they give them. Have you ever watched the Oscars and cringed at some of the acceptance speeches? Have you ever been captivated and want more from the actors? What's the difference in those speeches? The amount of time and care that went into practicing what they were going to say, and to whom.

4. Keep to the time frame. Tell your story, but don't overstay your welcome. Practicing your speech allows you to time your speech. That sense of time makes it possible to shift naturally from building a relationship, telling the story, and moving to the business portion of the book event.

5. Allow time to tell people about the book itself, what it contains, and how it completes the story you just shared with them. And don't forget to tell people how they can own a personal copy! After all, that's the reason you are there in the first place.

By Marilyn J. Schwader

Raise Your Hand If Youd Consider Giving Up The Rights To Your Book Forever

If Random House pulls up to your house with a U-haul filled with millions and wants to buy your book, maybe you'd consider giving up the rights forever. But, let's come back to the real world. In the real world, many authors find that the best way to launch a writing career is to essentially self-publish by using a print-on-demand (POD) publisher.

The problem is that the POD buffet is filled with the equivalent of healthy choices (publishers who charge low or no publishing fees and allow authors to terminate the contracts at anytime) and unhealthy choices (publishers that charge exorbitant upfront fees and lock authors into contracts for years). Often the writer's eyes are bigger than her stomach - she makes a move for the first publisher who tells her that her work is great.

Signing a POD contract impulsively is always a mistake. Unless you are trained as a lawyer, deciphering a POD contract can be tricky since many POD publishers have paid some hefty legal fees to have attorneys sculpt contracts that could easily crush an unsuspecting author.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer to review your POD contract you need to arm yourself with some knowledge before signing one. In my book, The Fine Print (, I take the legalese commonly found in most POD contracts and explain it in terms that will actually make sense. I also tell you the types of clauses in a POD contract that should cause you to run away from a publisher as quickly as possible.

If you don't want or can't purchase The Fine Print, here are three tips that may help you avoid a bad publishing experience.

1. Never pay more than $500 in up front POD publishing fees.

The most reputable POD publishers charge between $300-$500 for the publishing package which should always include customized cover art, formatting, placement of your book on Amazon, etc.; and ISBN number, bar code, and a sales page on the publisher's website. If you are paying more and not getting at least the services mentioned above, you are getting taken.

2. Only Sign a Contract That You Can Terminate When You Want

The best contracts are those you can terminate at any time (usually by giving 30-90 days notice). Some POD publishers that don't charge or charge very little for their services require a longer commitment on your end (1-2 years) before you can terminate. Because they have money invested in you this is understandable. Never sign a POD contract that you can't get out of easily. Some POD publishers require that you give them the rights to your book for the term of the copyright. When you see this run fast! The term of the copyright is for the life of the author, plus another 70 years - basically forever.

3. If the Publisher offers less than 30% Royalties on the Gross Sale Price Find Another Publisher

The royalties paid should, at a minimum, be 30% of the sales prices of each book. Be wary of contracts that give you some high percentage of the net sales price. This is where fuzzy math can creep in and take away almost all your profits.

The factors you should use to determine whether or not the proposed royalty is acceptable are:

? Whether it is based on the gross or net sales amount (and if based on the net sales amount, the calculation must be on hard numbers (production costs, credit card processing fees, etc.) and not vague items ("administrative costs", etc.);

? The actual production cost of the book (Production costs on POD books should be between $3.50 and $5.50. Anything higher than that and you can bet that the publisher is padding this amount to lower your actual royalty);

? The size of the publisher's distribution network and traffic to the publisher's online store (the more places your books are for sale, the more chance people have to find them); and

? Marketing efforts the publisher engages to inform readers of your book (if a publisher actually spends money to help sell your book, a lower royalty is not out of line).

? Whether the publisher treats itself like a third-party retailer (e.g. and gives itself a trade discount to sell you book (For example, for a $15 book, Amazon gets $7.50 for each book sold, then the remaining $7.50 is divided between the author and publisher based the royalty agreement. Some publishers give themselves a trade discount so in effect they end up making 80% of each sale for a book that you paid them to publish!)

Again, these are just the basics of the basics, but they provide the building blocks of the foundation of knowledge you will need to have before you sign a POD publishing contract.

By Mark Levine

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