Hosting a Reading or Signing
A successful reading/signing takes more than authors and books. Authors need a host's help to make their readings and signings successful. When planning an author reading and signing, here are the most important things you can provide:
- Email a press release to local media at least a week ahead. Include the author's sell sheet.
- Advertise in local newspapers. Co-op money may be available from the publisher.
- Make use of public service announcements. They provide free publicity.
- Invite your local arts reporters; set up an interview.
- Notify special interest groups – book clubs, schools, libraries, creative writing classes, senior citizen groups. Does your author's title suggest a particular interest group? A local historical board? A professional organization? Parents' groups? They could provide a ready-made market.
- Set up a display complete with author's photos and books before and after the signing.
- Notify your customers in your calendar of events, post flyers at the front of your store, promote the reading on your website and over social media.
- Make a simple poster for local libraries and cafés.
- Provide a prominent space.
- Ensure there is water available for the author during the reading.
- For signings, provide a comfortable chair, table, and pens.
- Provide seating for your audience.
- Shut off blenders and cappuccino-makers during talks.
Your Good Will
- Notify the author's publicist as soon as possible.
- Unless agreed upon, host one signing per time slot.
- Order stock of the author's titles well in advance.
- Confirm date and time with the author, by email or in writing if the author lives out of town.
- Make sure you know how to get in touch with the writer if unforeseen circumstances arise, and that the writer knows how to reach you.
- Inform your staff so they can help make the writer feel at home.
- Ensure that the emcee is familiar enough with the author's work to introduce him or her appropriately.
Have a great author visit!