Book signing events can be a great tool in an author’s arsenal, but many new authors may be surprised to learn that sales are not the best measure of a successful signing event. Of course, sales are always appreciated, but when considering the overall cost of attendance versus the profit made, the value of participation is rarely found in the day’s receipts. Signing events are about relationships–creating new ones and solidifying existing ones.
Networking with Authors
Writing can be a solitary existence. Signing events provide an opportunity to meet other authors who share common interests and are working toward the same goals. Finding writers within the same genre can lead to collaborative efforts in marketing. Even when the genres are different, like-minded colleagues can work together for critiquing, support, and inspiration. Lifelong friendships can blossom from bonding at writing events, and many participants walk away from a signing feeling like they’ve finally found their tribe. If nothing else, simply being in a room filled with so much creative energy can often spark new ideas or infuse a weary mind with the courage to keep typing.
Meeting Readers Face to Face
The reader-author relationship is a vital component to a successful writing career. It’s been said that ideas come to life in the mind of the author, but they live out their destiny in the mind of the reader. Signings provide an opportunity for fans to meet their favorite authors and put a face and voice to the name behind the words that captivate them. Passionate readers go to signing events to find books they love and support those who write them. While many attend to fangirl over a beloved author, most are also eager to peruse the tables and meet new writers whose titles and covers pique their interests. A firsthand account of characters and plotlines from a writer can sell a story better than any cleverly crafted blurb. Readers who meet an author and purchase their books in person often end up following any future releases as well.
Finding the Right Vendors
Author signing events often feature industry vendors who are happy to interact with writers and answer questions regarding their services. Whether an author is searching for help with formatting, cover design, headshot photography, editing, or marketing strategies, meeting the vendors one on one establishes a connection that could lead to a mutually beneficial and successful relationship. Feedback from the other authors at the event who may have experience with the featured vendors is helpful as well.
Measuring an Event’s Success
No writer wants to come home from a signing with the same amount of books they took with them, but the success of the event cannot be measured in sales alone. If an author was able to connect with other writers, meet fans and interact with new readers, and find a good vendor match, then the event has a value far beyond the number of books sold that day.