As I was scurrying out the door last Friday to a booksigning, it occurred to me that I should make up a checklist. Here's a list of items that I take along with me:
A pen. This sounds obvious, but I forgot to take a pen to a signing once, and since I'd locked my purse in the car, I didn't have six to chose from.
An eye-catching prop. Sometimes I take a velour shawl and drape it around the table. Sometimes I include my two bean bag frogs. I've also taken along story-related items to my romantic suspense, HOUSE OF LIES, like binnoculars and birding guides.
Freebies. These are inexpensive promotional items or candy. If possible, attach a label with the name of your book or your website to the item. You might also consider running a contest during your signing to encourage shoppers to hang around.
A scrapbook. In mine, I have an introductory bio page and copies of newspaper articles about my appearances. I have photos of me at conferences with friends. I also have reviews for HOUSE OF LIES and copies of my newsletters.
A name tag. Having your name displayed prominently helps allay stranger anxiety. I often wear a name tag with my various RWA pens clustered around the edges. You wouldn't believe how many people ask what the pens mean.
Extra books. Keep these in your car, but make sure the bookstore knows you have extras in the event of a sell-out. Also have an invoice prepared so that you appear professional. Most bookstores expect to pay 60% of retail for a book. On my invoice, I have preprinted the prices for books from one book up to ten books. I also have spaces for myself and the vendor to sign documenting that the transaction occurred. Make sure your contact information is on the invoice.
Bookmarks, newsletters, business cards, or other concise written promo material that will direct a reader to your website.
A Can-do attitude. You will be talking to people about your books. People who don't know you. Be sure you can pitch your book effectively to them in just a few sentences. For best results, practice ahead of time with a family member.
Be sure to arrive a little ahead of your signing to allow sufficient time to set-up and chat with the store personnel. If they like you, they will hand-sell your books long after you've gone. It never hurts to follow-up afterwards with a thank you note. After all, you will be writing other books and will want to return to this store.
Best of luck at your booksigning!
House of Lies in print at http://www.amazon.com/House-Lies-Maggie-Toussaint/dp/1601540310/ref=sr_1_1/102-6871584-8406567?ie=UTF8&s=books&quid=1173118770&sr=8-1 ebook at http://www.fictionwise.com/