Book signings are among the in-person events resuming in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Although book sales surged when people were ordered to stay at home, everyone in the industry, from literary agents, publicists, and authors themselves, agrees that in-person events have value. They create awareness of books in target markets and allow fans to meet authors – and many fans will post about their experiences on social media, bringing added exposure. If you've written a book, you or your publicist will customarily take the lead in scheduling signings. Typically, they are held at bookstores.
Scheduling your in-person appearance and signing at a chain bookstore location is a practical approach, but you may also want to appear at a local independent bookseller. Libraries are another suitable location if one in your area is excellent and convenient for people to reach. It's fine to think creatively and appear at a place that has relevance to your book. For example, if you're a cookbook author, you might want to appear at a kitchen and home goods store if you're in an area where most people will drive to attend, keep parking and other conveniences in mind. Making it easy will increase the numbers.
Book PR pros remind authors that it's more likely a store will accept your signing if it includes an interactive element such as a QA, and typically those follow a brief talk, reading, or presentation. It's common for stores to want something more than you seated at a table signing books. When planning your event, the first step is to determine the proper contact person at the store to approach. When you do, be prepared to send them information about your book (ideally, you are handling the event schedule before the book is released) and explain the crowd you can attract.
Another essential point to negotiate upfront is deciding who will supply the books – you for the store. If you provide the book, the store will keep a percentage of the sales, customarily 20-percent. They sell copies on a consignment basis while you're there, and you take back any that are unsold. It's common for stores to schedule events two to six months in advance. If you're trying for a busy period like the holiday time in December, you may want to make your initial contact more than six months in advance. The highest traffic dates book up early, and if your success depends on them, don't be left out.