The day you launch your book is a day that you will remember forever. Embarrassing and exhilarating, it’s a milestone you could only reach after failing more than once. It is fair to say that all the hard work, relentless sacrifice, late-night musings, and countless revisions, are part of a daunting ordeal…On reflection, every painstaking effort turns out to be another stepping stone into serendipity. I am always asked if was it easy to publish my book. After all these years since my first book, I will always say: No, it was absolutely not easy. But so worth it!
I will never understand what led me on a path that I never even imagine taking…but I know it was a chain of events that found me when I wasn’t even looking. The magic truly happens when you dare to step beyond the pages of your book, and into the uncharted territories of life. It is the junction where the life before book stopped completely, as if it never been. That was for me the ground zero moment. That moment I’ve made an intentional choice to unlearn everything I knew and start from scratch the Life After Book, L.A.B. for short.
I was one of those people who think that writing a book means going into a mountain cabin for the next two years. It never crossed my mind that publishing a book is an actual business and the book writing is the good part! By now you guessed that I am talking about the other side of this karmic coin called Book Publishing- the part that nobody wants to talk about: the nightmare of book distribution. The real question is:
Where do you want your book to take you?
It is impossible to describe the feeling you experience when your book is finally in your hands, its fresh pages filled with your heart, your thoughts are now sentences on a page, read by total strangers- including yourself…I could never have anticipated what happened in my L.A.B. My first 1000- days- book- signing around the world! A journey of self-exploration, learning, growth, and never ending curiosity. How far can your book take you?
An unfolding story where each day is a new page, a laboratory where I fearlessly experiment with life experiences. It is where I live my victories and my failures, my joy and my despair, my learnings and most importantly, my un-learnings. I had to unlearn everything I knew.
To think that this incredible journey began with a single book launch is both humbling and awe-inspiring. A book, after all, is not just a collection of words on paper. It is a living entity, a catalyst, a door to another world. And when I penned the last word of my first book, little did I know that I was not closing a chapter, but opening a door to a world of endless exploration – the doors that will never close again: the doors to my own heart.
Stepping into your own book signing experience is as thrilling as it is nerve-wracking. This event offers the chance to connect with your readers, sign copies of your book, and make an indelible connection with yourself. After many years of practicing, I can say that being intentional is crucial. Here’s an easy guide for your book signing event and some insider tips to create a memorable experience.
Preparing for Signing Your Book
1. Know Your Audience: Understanding who will be attending your book signing event can help you prepare for the type of questions they might ask or the discussions they may wish to engage in. This could be based on your book genre, demographic of your readers, or the themes in your work.
2. Practice Your Signature: This might sound trivial, but your signature is part of the experience for the fans. It’s more than just writing your name; it’s a keepsake for the reader. So ask who is the book for first. Make it legible and distinctive. Have a signature phrase like ‘Dream Big’ or ‘ Remember this: ‘
3. Plan What to Say: Think about how you’ll respond to typical questions about your book or writing process. Having ready answers helps the interaction flow smoothly.
Must-Have tips for a Book Signing Event
To ensure you are fully equipped for the day, here are some essentials every author should bring along.
1. Your Own Pen: Bring along your own choice of pen for the signing. It could be a specific brand you like or a certain colour of ink that you feel best represents your book. A fountain pen can add an elegant touch, while a reliable ballpoint pen can ensure you’re not left high and dry.
2. Book Stands: If the book store doesn’t provide them, having your own book stands can make the setup more appealing and allow for your books to be prominently displayed. I use the ones that have wheels and you could use as a storage for the extra books etc
3. Promotional Materials: Banner, bookmarks, postcards, or business cards with your website and social media handles can be handy to give away. It allows readers to stay in touch and helps build your author platform.
4. A Comfortable Chair Cushion: Depending on how long the signing lasts, a comfortable cushion can be “a lifesaver” as Jackie Collins taught me. We launched our books together at a book fair and she offered me hers at some point.
5. Water and Snacks: Keep yourself hydrated and energized during the event. Sometimes, the excitement and continuous interaction can be more exhausting than anticipated. Have some extra for your readers if the book store doesn’t provide them.
6. An Author Buddy: Consider bringing along a fellow author or a friend who can provide moral support, assist with setup, or step in if you need a break.
Hack no 1: Engage with the readers
Make every reader feel special. After all, everything about being an author is about the readers. Make eye contact, respond genuinely to their questions, and thank them for their support. A positive and memorable interaction can turn a casual reader into a lifelong fan.
Hack no 2: Personalize the Experience
If possible, personalize the book inscription based on your interaction with the reader or their preferences. This small touch can make the experience even more special for them.
Hack no 3: Stay Calm and organised: all is well.
Keep the line moving efficiently by having a clear system. It could be as simple as instructing fans to have their books open to the signing page or placing post-it notes in books for personalized messages.
Hack No 4: Enjoy the Moment
This is your moment to shine, so enjoy it. Perhaps you heard a lot about personal branding. I would not be too consumed by the concept. The truth is that your identity, author or reader, is your energy. Your frequency. Engage with your fans, soak in their admiration, and remember why you embarked on this creative journey in the first place.
Navigating a book signing event as an author might seem daunting, but with preparation, the right essentials, and a positive mindset, it can turn into an enriching and rewarding experience. Remember, this is as much an opportunity for you to meet your readers as it is for them to meet you. So, pack your author kit, and be yourself. Step into the limelight with confidence and savour the joy of connecting with those who appreciate and celebrate your work.
Hack no 5: Remember to Breathe
During the event, it’s important not to overexert yourself. Book signings can often be lengthy affairs, and continuous engagement can be physically and mentally tiring. Ensure you schedule a few short breaks to relax and rejuvenate. A quick snack, a sip of water, or simply a moment of quiet can do wonders to recharge your energy.
Hack No 6: Document the Event
Consider bringing along a camera or using your smartphone to capture the event. Photos of you interacting with your readers or signing books can be shared on your social media platforms or your website, adding a personal touch and helping to build your author brand. If possible, have a friend or an assistant take care of this so that you can focus on engaging with your readers.
Hack No 7: Keep the momentum going Post-Event
Once the event concludes, take some time to reflect on the experience. What went well? What could be improved for future events? Consider sending out a thank you message to your readers through your website or social media platforms. This not only demonstrates your appreciation but also reinforces the bond you have with your reader community.
Hosting a book signing event can be a powerful way to connect with your readers, elevate your author brand, and most importantly, celebrate the success of your book. By bringing along the essentials, preparing adequately, and approaching the event with enthusiasm and positivity, you’re sure to make a lasting impression on your readers. After all, at the heart of every book signing event is the shared love for storytelling that binds authors and readers together.
ONE SINGLE RULE FOR MANY BOOK SIGNING EVENTS: Celebrate- Celebrate- Celebrate!
As I look back, I am filled with gratitude for every twist and turn of this journey. For the vibrant tapestry of experiences that has formed the fabric of my L.A.B., and for every single reader who inspired me to keep calm and carry on being an author, for every single stranger who have been an a beautiful light while I am learning to embrace the unknow. Celebrating the lessons we’ve learned, the experiences we’ve shared, and the story that continues to unfold.
As we journey into the next chapter of L.A.B., my wish is for us to continue learning, evolving, and embracing the beautiful chaos that is life after book. For most people life isn’t just about arriving at a destination, but for you, my friend, it’s about becoming a destination worth reaching. Keep the light of exploration on, the relentless curiosity up, and turn up the courage to venture into the unknown.
Let’s continue to experiment, to question, to seek, and to discover. There are only two options for an author: wait for a miracle or become one. Here’s to the next few decades together, after all, your book connects you with eternity. Let’s keep turning these pages together.