I already planned to cover this topic in my series on The Fine Art of Self-Promotion next year (I think it’s part ten), but after reading Jim’s post, I thought I’d ask my research question now.
From your point of view as a reader, why would you attend a book signing?
Even though I very much look forward to the day when I’m a published author and can sign a copy of my novel for someone, I think a book signing is really more self-gratification for the writer than it is self-promotion.
After all, what’s in it for the reader, other than a chance to meet the author? What’s more, he/she’s expected to pay for the privilege by purchasing a signed copy of a book.
From the reader’s point of view, it’s really not that big a deal, unless of course, they’re a fan of the author’s work, but in that case, wouldn’t they buy the book anyway?
I don’t think signings are a bad idea, but from a self-promotional point of view, I believe they should be the encore rather than main event. Personally, I have no desire to attend a book signing where there’s nothing on offer but the chance to watch the author write a note in his/her novel for me.
However, I’ve bought many books from writers after hearing them speak at an event.
It’s not so much a question of whether or not an author should do a signing event, as it is about what else he/she can offer potential book buyers to make the effort of turning up worthwhile.
Part of the thinking behind setting up the New Jersey Authors’ Network was to encourage writers to take part in multi-author events. I’ve organized two of them myself, and from what I’ve seen I’d say people are more interested in attending something like a Q&A panel (followed by a book signing) than a reading, or a straightforward ‘turn up, buy my book and I’ll scribble a note in it for you’ event.
From the point of view of a reader, I think it’s more interesting to hear authors talk about their work, and writing in general, than it is to hear them read an excerpt from a book, though of course, that’s just my opinion.
How about you?
If you didn’t already know the authors or their work, what kind of pre-signing event would make you attend a book signing?