Increasing Sales at Book-Signings

April 2002
by Howard M. Layton

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Book-signing engagements at bookstore chains, independent stores, and libraries can be important, or even crucial, ways to sell books. By experimenting with various approaches, I have come up with a system of sorts for making the most of them.

My system is designed for stores like Waldenbooks (and most of the independents) which use the casual approach to book-signings. That is, they provide authors with a table and chair near the front of the store, leaving the writers to make their pitches to individual customers as they pass by. This is in contrast to stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, which prefer more structure, with a table and rows of chairs in a suitable area of the store, a talk, a Q&A session, and then a signing.


The Proactive Approach

Since Waldenbooks stores are mostly in shopping malls, the book-buying traffic is transient. If you just sit at your table and wait for something to happen, not much generally does. What you should do is become proactive rather than reactive, which involves training yourself to approach customers as they come into the store. You want to politely ask if they will permit you to tell them about your book.

No one will be offended by that query and, in most cases, you will be gratified by the friendly and cooperative response you get. Some customers may say that they’ve come in to look for a specific book or that they’re in a special hurry. Others will state politely that…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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