By Marsha Friedman
So why do it? There are obvious benefits to doing book-signings, such as meeting prospective book-buyers in person; the market research that can only come from talking directly to your audience; the local exposure you'll experience and the overall promotion that's part of this entire activity - but there are hidden benefits in doing book signings that are even more valuable than everything I've just mentioned!
HIDDEN VALUE #1 - DISTRIBUTION IN EVERY MARKET
It's a known fact that distribution is a problem for publishers of all sizes. The reason is simple - with over 170,000 new books coming out each year, bookstores have to be very selective about the inventory of titles they choose to keep on their shelves. But, you can use book-signing events to force your book into distribution because when a bookstore agrees to schedule a book signing, they will automatically order a significant number of copies to sell through in their store!
HIDDEN VALUE #2 - FREE ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION
Let's face it - stores are highly motivated to promote book signings, as these events are known to be a successful action for driving in customers and stimulating sales. Book signings after all are two way streets: they draw attention to you, but you also draw attention to the store. So promotional mailings to customers, announcements in newsletters, newspaper ads, media interviews, internet banners are all promotional actions some bookstores will take to draw attention to your arrival - priceless promotions that cost you nothing!
HIDDEN VALUE #3 - FREE MERCHANDISING
Another tool the store uses for promoting a scheduled book signing is through high profile display materials (provided by you or your publisher) that are set up at a table in front of the store, usually about a week prior to your event, with a prominent display of your book along with any other high quality promotional material you can provide them. What great positioning for you to all those customers who walk through that store.
HIDDEN VALUE #4 - WORD OF MOUTH PROMOTION
After all the advertising you do, it's word-of-mouth marketing that will either crown or drown you. The smart author knows this and will try to infect bookstore employees every opportunity they can. When authors are at book signings they have the opportunity to meet all the store employees there at the time. Those authors smart enough to recognize the value of this opportunity will take the time to introduce themselves, shake hands, talk about their book in memorable "soundbites" and make each person feel singled out and important (as they are!).
Needless to say, the next time a customer comes into the store asking for a book on your topic they will be proud to boast about your book and that they shook your hand.
HIDDEN VALUE #5 - VALUABLE MARKET KNOWLEDGE
Going through the process of scheduling and executing successful book signings can open your eyes to not only the world of retail publishing, but also the door to the secrets of your market. You will be researching the cities that are suitable for your promotion which in turn will give you valuable marketing information. You will find out where your book is most relevant and where the most demand may be.
Finding out this information will enable you to fine tune your marketing plan and target the best markets, saving not only your valuable promotional dollars but your valuable time!
Book signings are definitely a worthwhile investment of your time as long as you understand that they are so much more than just signing autographs! Not only are they a publicity goldmine, if executed effectively they will greatly increase your profile on a local level and create an awesome buzz.
Author Resource:- Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on publicity for authors for nearly two decades as CEO of Event Management Services, Inc (EMSI). If you would like to receive her free Ebook "How to Be a Great Talk Radio Guest" visit http://www.emsincorporated.com.