My Book Signing Experience

When I received the wonderful news that my mystery novel, Murder in Winnebago County would soon be in print, I spoke with the head of the local library. She asked if I would be interested in having a book signing there–of course I would!
To prepare for the event, I ordered postcards with the book cover on the front–book information, publishing information, event details and invitation on the back. I sent out a number of the cards to people I knew, but didn’t have email addresses for. I put stacks of the cards at the library, two local bookstores and at our family’s downtown business. I had posters made and hung them in a number of stores and at the library. I put a press release in the local newspaper–free advertising! I sent an email version of the card to the people in my address box.
The turn-out for the signing was overwhelming–between 90 and 100 people. Many were people I didn’t know and I surmised they either like book signings, murder mysteries, or both.

Since it was my first book signing, I wasn’t certain how to conduct it. The library provided a podium for me to stand behind, making the event a little more formal than I thought it would be. I had pictured myself perhaps sitting at a table. As it turned out, I was glad to have something to stand behind and lean onto! I told the group we would do what they wanted to do. I told them I was at a Tami Hoag signing and she read a passage from her book, then did signings. I didn’t recall her answering questions, but it is possible she did. At John Sanford’s book sighing, he spoke for a while about his life and interests, then took questions for a fairly long time before doing the signings.

No one suggested how to proceed so I asked them if they wanted to know why I wrote the book and how I got published, etc. They did. I explained that the book was inspired by a tragic event and unanswered questions. I recounted how I had been in a crime writer’s contest where I met a man who started Second Wind Publishing and asked if I’d be interested in getting published. An answer to dreams and prayers!

After giving some background, I took questions. One lady asked me to share the tragic event behind the book. I said my father died mysteriously and we didn’t get a satisfying reason for it. Others asked things such as: do I write on a laptop or with a pen and paper, do I wake up in the middle of the night and jot things down, how did I choose the title, how long did it take to write, when will my next book be out, what is the next book about, etc. Then someone asked me to read a passage. I felt a bit tongue-tied and said “feminine” instead of “Fenneman” (my character’s name) a couple of times. But I laughed and said, “See, I didn’t think I would be able to read.”

I donated a book to the library. They gave me a nice thank you card and flowers and served refreshments. I sold about 60 books that evening. There were people who asked to have their picture taken with me–that was different and very cool!

After the event, I put a picture with a few lines about the signing in the local newspaper. Again, free advertising and it put my name and the name of my book in peoples’ minds.

I encourage anyone with a book to hold a signing. It seems to generate excitement and interest. I was told the attendees were very engaged in what I had to say and liked being part of the fun. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone. I was not quite as nervous as I would have imagined. I was with a group of people who wanted to be there, for whatever reason, and we enjoyed the evening together.

Christine Husom

Author, Murder in Winnebago County



1 Comment

Filed under books, marketing

One response to “My Book Signing Experience

  1. I haven’t taken that step yet, but you are certainly an inspiration! Now just please shove me off the edge and I’ll be good to go.

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