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Book Signings for Beginners

Olivia Páez

Staff Writer

Olivia Páez is a Cuban-American journalism major. When she’s not writing articles for her classes, you can probably find her devouring a novel or watching a classic film. Along with reading and watching films, she has a hodgepodge of interests. Some of them include writing, sketching, traveling, dressing up as some of her favorite characters, and caring for the environment.

I’ve been to my fair share of book signings throughout the years. They are wonderful events that bring readers together to meet their favorite author and learn more about the books that they have written. Book signings give readers the chance to ask authors questions and get their favorite books signed. It’s an event that will fill readers with happiness and will inspire them to want to read all the books, once they get home.

In case anyone doesn’t know how to find signings in their area, here are some ways that you can find upcoming book tours near you:

Check Your Local Bookstores’ Event Pages

If you’re looking for book signings in your area, check out your local bookstores’ event pages on their websites. Bookstores will often update their event pages months in advance so readers can see which authors are coming to their area to meet with readers.

Be sure to check if there are admission prices for these events. This is run on a case-by-case basis, depending on the book signing you attend. Some bookstores will charge a fee to enter the event while others may be free!

Sign Up For Your Favorite Authors’ Newsletters

Another way to see if authors are hosting a signing near you is by signing up for their newsletters, if they have one. Authors will often announce book tours on their newsletters or websites. So if there’s an author you love, be sure to check their website often or sign up to receive their newsletters so you can stay up to date on their latest events!

Follow Authors and Publishers on Social Media

In order to stay up to date on all things bookish, be sure to follow your favorite authors and their publishers on social media. This is a handy way to stay up to date with the latest news about your favorite authors.

Now let’s talk about book signings…

For those who aren’t familiar with book signings or are attending their first one soon, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind, in order to have the best time with fellow book lovers and an author that you admire.

Get to the Signing Early in Order to Claim A Good Seat

It’s better to be early to an event instead of being late. Always try to get to book signings early, especially if the author is well known. Usually, signings run either by ticketed numbers that are handed to readers, a line, or by the seat(s) you claim before the event begins.

It’s always best to show up an hour early to claim your seat or get a numbered ticket (if they provide any). That way you won’t have to worry about being late or sitting in the back of the room during the signing.

Bring a Buddy to the Event!

If you can, bring a friend or relative to a book signing. I usually bring my best friend or mother to book signings because they are both readers, like me, and love attending these types of events. Bringing a buddy to a book signing also gives you someone to chat with as you wait for the event to begin. Or, it might convince your friend/relative to buy the book that’s being highlighted!

Talk to Others Around You During the Event

If you don’t bring a book-loving buddy with you to the event, don’t fret! Book signings are full of like-minded readers who all have a passion and love for a specific author, book, or series. You’re all at the same event for a reason, so why not spark some conversation with those around you?

I’ve made some wonderful friends because I made casual conversations with them at signings, and we still speak to this day! If there’s one place you can make a quick friend who has the same interests as you, it’s at a book event.

Write Down Your Name on a Post-it Note, if You’re Allowed to Personalize Your Book

Before you attend the event, check if you’re able to have the author personalize your book when they sign it. If you can, write your name on a Post-it note and stick it on the title page of your book for authors to know who to sign the book to.

Prepare Any Questions Beforehand

If you want to speak to the author during the Q&A portion of the book signing, be sure to prepare any questions beforehand. There’s a small window of time to throw your hand up in the air to ask a question, so be sure that it’s a good one!

Remember not to spoil the book or series for others in your question. Not everyone has read the book(s) before the event, so keep your question spoiler-free. (I attended an event where someone spoiled the end of the novel in front of the entire audience. No one wants to be that person.)

If you don’t have the chance to ask your question, don’t let that get you down. You still have time to say something kind to the author when they are signing your book. Or if you prefer to stay quiet, that’s fine too!

Remember to be Patient

Book signings take time, especially if the author has a large audience attending the event. Waiting in your seat before the event begins is a given. Waiting on a line for your book to be signed will also occur. Be sure to eat before the event begins to avoid getting hangry. And remember that everyone is waiting for the same opportunity as you, so patience is key.

Pre-Open Your Book to the Page the Author Will Sign

After going to so many book signings, I’ve learned a trick that helps authors and booksellers during the event. Before you step up to meet the author, open your book up to the title page that they will sign.

This sounds like such a simple thing to do, but it helps authors and booksellers save time during the signing, which will help run the line more smoothly. It’s a great way to help ensure that people won’t be waiting for hours to get their books signed.

Get Your Camera Ready

If you have a buddy with you, hand them your camera for them to snap a photo of you and the author interacting as they sign your book. If an author has a big line of readers waiting to get their books signed, they may not be able to stop and pose for a photo with every individual reader, so have a buddy or a bookseller take some photos of you as the author signs your book. If you do have time to pose with them, that’s great too!

I hope these tips help out some book lovers during book events. Remember, each book signing is different, according to the size of the event, how many people attend, and how much time the author has to sign books. For certain events, you may have to show up hours early to claim a seat or ticket, and others you won’t. It’s all a learning process, but have fun with it! Book signings are fun events to bring readers together to share their love for reading, so make the most of these events.