By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
Author Michael Hicks Thompson recently had a book signing for his latest work, The Rector, A Christian Murder Mystery. There is a lot of excitement around Thompson’s latest work. The Rector was chosen by the Beverly Hills Book Awards as a Finalist. The signing was at The Booksellers of Laurelwood in Memphis TN. Booksellers is one of those meccas for authors and readers alike. It is a great venue for authors to introduce their work.
Book signings can do many things for an author. Many of which I saw at Thompson’s book signing. Let’s look at a few very important points of a book signing.
Personal contact with your readers. Readers love to meet the author. Book signings give readers an opportunity to meet their heroes, the ones that gave life to their favorite characters. Everyone wants to know the author and this gives the readers personal time with them. When given a chance readers will express their fondness of the author and his talent. It builds a bond between the author and reader that could last for years.
· Book sales. I must say I have bought a book simply because the author was there in front of me to sign it. My thoughts were that if someone mentioned they liked this author I could always make it a gift to them. The point is signed books sell. This reinforces the closeness and proves the personal contact a reader had with the author. Author Steve Bradshaw, The Bell Trilogy, told me that book signings were his bread and butter. From there many more opportunities came which led to more sales.
· New ideas. Having attended signings that included readings and personal contact with the author, there seemed to be discussions with the readers concerning the characters and the story line. The author hears such things as will the main character ever do this. Have you ever thought of the character taking off on a tangent to do this? Will there be a sequel? By the way the sequel to Michael Hicks Thompson’s The Rector, entitled The Typewriter, will be released this year. Feedback from the readers can make an author aware of how his work is seen and could bring great ideas to the forefront. It may lead an author in a direction not considered. Many times a reader will offer a new story or book idea for your consideration.
So when considering a book signing go into it with the awareness that this is more than you meeting and greeting and selling your book. Prepare to form new relationships that could be lasting ones. Be aware of additional opportunities that may spin off this event. Be open to the path should it unfold before you. Keep a note book or personal devise nearby to jot down any ideas, story lines or contacts that may arise.
Selling your book is definitely an important part of your book signing event but there other ways that may come along that can be just as productive and profitable to your writing career. Being prepared for and aware of these opportunities as they come could make each and every book signing productive.