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Signings in obscure places?

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Jessie Terwilliger | 4 comments Has anyone ever done a signing at say a local coffee house or tea parlor? Anything to this effect?

How do you go about setting something like that up?

I'm actually thinking about doing a little renegade get together at a strip club since it goes along with my novel Bombshell's theme, but I'm not entirely sure how to go about doing that. Do I need permission from the owner if I'm there as a patron as well? I do want it to be like a hang-out smallish thing, but will that upset the business owner? Or is it just like any other party there?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

message 2: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 334 comments Mod
A local musician/lawyer/coffeehouse supporter invited me to do a book signing at a local coffee house. It was a disaster. No one came to see me, and the patrons just wanted their beverages.

You should always get permission from the business owner, especially if you intend to sell books on his/her premises.

Presumably, you have the rights to sell your own books, some contracts are a bit sticky about that (author copies). If in doubt, check.

Good luck,
Rowena Cherry

message 3: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Rowena wrote: "A local musician/lawyer/coffeehouse supporter invited me to do a book signing at a local coffee house. It was a disaster. No one came to see me, and the patrons just wanted their beverages."

I've been asked to do one but have been in two minds about it. In a bookstore you're sure, at least, that the patrons are actually looking for books. In a coffee house people want coffee. I do know someone who did well at a coffee shop signing, but he's written a children's book and the coffee shop was popular with families... his freebies enticed the kiddies, and their parents followed.

Jessie Terwilliger | 4 comments I never intended to be sneaky or underhanded about it, I'm just unsure of how to go about approaching these places. There's a coffee house around here that has bands one night a week, I think I vaguely remember poetry readings every once in a while. What if I approached a place like that with the idea of a reading/signing? Is that any better for possibly drawing people in?

And if nobody buys it, how do I prevent myself from just looking stupid? (Besides walking around and being friendly anyway and passing out bookmarks.)

message 5: by David (new)

David Korinetz | 77 comments I tried a winery last year. I was as a table outside in the courtyard where people sat around eating and drinking wine. I thought it was going to be great, but sales were not as I had hoped. People were there to taste and buy wine, not books. I sold only three. Fairs work much better, but you generally have to pay to be there.

message 6: by Simon (new)

Simon (simonread) | 1 comments Greetings . . . I'm the newbie!

It's been my experience that signings, even in popular places, are a very iffy thing. You simply can't tell if it's going to be a success or a painful experience you hope to soon forget. While it's tempting to try and shake things up and do something different, I think the best bet to hold a signing is still the local bookstore (of course, that's just my humble opinion)!



message 7: by Dr (new)

Dr | 134 comments Simon,

The best places for me to do a book signing is at the colleges when they have a special invitation day for almost any different subject, art, new books, and even political rallies. I have never failed in selling my books at these gatherings. Some might not think students have a lot of discretionary monies, but most found enough to cover my book. There is usually a director of programs and invitations, find out who it is. First, I gave the lady a book and told her not to sign me up if she didn't like the book. She called me within a week and had me scheduled.

Good luck, as we clear away the road blocks of life, the path seem very clear.

message 8: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I agree with all the comments about selling at signings. Signings help with exposure, they help to build your media packet, but they aren't known for great sales. I did a signing at a Hallmark store, which actually was successful in that I sold 8 books- 6 of them to family friends. When you get permission for the signing, ask the owner if he/she minds if you put out a press release. Then blitz the local papers.

message 9: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Nina wrote: "When you get permission for the signing, ask the owner if he/she minds if you put out a press release. Then blitz the local papers. "

Yes, it's very important not to rely on the venue to do the PR.

Jessie Terwilliger | 4 comments And what do these places get in return? Just the business? Or do I owe them a cut of the sales?

message 11: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Everywhere I've signed at has received a percentage of the sales. They take the money on the day, through their system, and then they are invoiced by accounts for the amount they have to give back.

message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicajames) | 14 comments I've done signings at book/coffee shops, fairs, book festivals, and even a dress shop. I've had less success at literary sites like bookstores than I've had at fairs and festivals, but I've pretty much found it's impossible to predict sales. I agree with the person that said the publicity you get from doing a book signing still makes it worth going. I went back and found the location of a blog post I did called the Glamorous Life of an Author for anyone who has never done a book signing and wants to know what it's like.

Jessie Terwilliger | 4 comments Thanks for the link to the blog post, I'm going to go read it.

message 14: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I remember that post Jessica... I read it just before I had my first signing.

message 15: by Jan (new)

Jan (jansteckel) I've had the best luck at regular coffee house/restaurant readings when I go the month or week before and make friends first without the pressure of buying. I also get a feel for the regular crowd and what they might like. I stand up, perform a poem or two, then tell everyone I'll be doing a feature there next time and wave my book around. The most books I've sold at one of these things is about twenty, but usually it's a lot fewer. I haven't noticed better luck at bookstores; it's more about how much you connect to the people listening.

message 16: by Shirley (new)

Shirley (discipleshirley) | 49 comments I am getting ready to have a book signing at an antique parlor, a book club meets at old houses etc and since my book has victorian under tones they asked me to talk to thier book group. I think they already have my book but might open up a new avenue of some type. Shirley ( my surgery went ok but I am stuck in the hosp, dr won't discharge me until we get electricity back from the ice storm)

message 17: by Jan (new)

Jan (jansteckel) Hope you get home soon, Shirley! Good luck with your book signing.

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