by Jan Grape
it comes time to set up a signing for your new book, your first book or
your latest book. Why not try some creative thinking?
no set rule that you MUST do a signing in a bookstore. Of course, I'm
not saying to leave your favorite mystery bookstore or even your
favorite big box bookstore. Just wanting you to think a little outside
the box for extras.
When we owned Mysteries & More,
I had several signings there for my anthologies and for my non-fiction
edited books, The Art of Murder and Deadly Women. I enjoyed signing at
my own store and I also signed in Houston at Murder by the Book. I
signed at mystery bookstores in Dallas, San Diego, Kansas City,
Scottsdale, Bethesda, St. Louis, and New York City. I was determined to
help my fellow writers and my fellow independent bookstore owners sell a
few books even if I didn't have a novel published. I'd set up signings
with other anthology authors, authors who did have a novel out, and my
co-editors. Usually we did panels talking about writing. By having three
or four authors, the crowd will grow larger because of each person's fan
I tried to come up with promotional items to
give to customers and bookstore owners for myself and others. When we
operated the store we got many, many promo items. There were writing
pens and pencils, key chains, postcards, bookmarks, caps, t-shirts,
coozies, little pins to wear that had the book covers on it. I wrote a
few weeks ago about the little rubber jar opener promoting Deadly Women
that I came up with and it was a hit. Eileen Dreyer gave away a ball
point pen that looked like an actual hypodermic syringe filled with
medicine, which was the blue ink. Promotions are good ideas to give away
but how about where you hold a signing?
My first book
came out and I decided to have a launch party at the bowling center
where I'd bowled in leagues for years. They had a party room and we sent
out invitations and an awesome crowd showed up… about sixty people, I
The beauty salon where I had my hair done wanted
to host a book signing party for me. I said, sure, why not? Three years
later when my second book came out, we had moved into our RV full time
and traveled in the summer, but came back to the Hill Country in the
fall and winter. Once again, I did a signing at a bowling center where
we now bowled.
When we still owned the bookstore, a
writer friend, the late Nancy Bell, was the house mother of a sorority
house at the University of Texas for ten years. When her first book came
out, we had her launch party for her first book at the sorority house.
creative place I had a signing was at the SPA Yoga center where I go. I
once also signed on the patio of a restaurant and inside the same
restaurant when the next book came out.
four years at a music festival that a singer/songwriter hosted several
years and always invited book writers along with the musicians he
Guess you get the idea that you can do book
signings almost anywhere. All you need is a willing host, a rather busy
location and someone to sell the books for you. If you don't have a
local indie bookstore who will order books for you, last resort order
them from your publisher yourself. But you usually don't get credit for
books sold if you, the author buys from the publisher. Just think
outside the box… uh store and sell those books.
Groaner of the day: How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, — one to screw it almost all the way and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.