April 10, 2020

How Effective are Book signings, shows, and workshops ? (Part 1)

Jan McCanless

Author of Beryl's Cove Mysteries

Every time I meet another aspiring author, I am asked about book signings, book shows, and workshops offered by colleges, and other venues.

It has been my experience that book signings are probably the best venue an author can have for getting 'out there' meeting the readers and fans, and making yourself known. They are vital, and at one, you might have one person show up and buy a book, at another, they may be lined up to meet you. The numbers don't really mean that much, what counts is the fact you are at the bookstore, meeting and greeting, not just the readers, but, the employees as well.

Networking is the key to getting your book in front of the public, and all bookstores will advertise your appearance, and do the publicity surrounding your appearance there. That is all invaluable, because you can't afford to do it yourself. Every bookstore I go to generally has posters made, and I always ask if I can keep them when I leave. At your next stop, you will have a visual to put up showing the public where you have been, The more posters., the better, and believe me, they will draw attention and make folks stop in and talk to you, maybe even buy a book from you.

It's what is called the ripple affect. One appearance will help to advertise the next one, introducing you to someone who may know of a book festival somewhere, leading to a workshop you can attend or perhaps teach, so on and so on.

At a book signing once at a store about 30 miles from my home,. one of the ladies working there asked me if I had ever been to the Book 'em festival in our state. No, I had not, had not even heard of it, but, she told me of the particulars, I contacted them, and soon became one of the featured authors to show up every year. After the second year of attending, I was asked to teach a workshop, the third year I committed to teaching 2 workshops. The great thing about all this was, the 'students' in my classes were all aspiring authors, they liked what I had to say, and, therefore, they came by my booth and bought a book. Ripple affect.

Book fairs and festivals are great for other reasons, one of which is ,you get to meet other authors, and this is an absolute must. You gain a lot of insight into the publishing world by mixing with other writers. AND, you oftentimes learn something from them, thereby getting the opportunity to hone your craft.

The second important thing to remember about book fairs, is, publishers also attend. My current publisher approached me at one, and asked if he could publish my books. Imagine that !!! Now, you know why I recommend them so highly. If you don't know of any in your area, or within a reasonable distance from you, google them, and, you will find listings for them all over the country. I go to all I can reasonable go to, they are interesting, lucrative, informative, and, hard work. Remember , that book you have written will not jump into a clients lap, you will have to work to promote your book, but, if you believe in your work, it won't be hard to convince the reader to believe in it as well. 

In Part 2 I will tell you about another venue for writers. Be sure to check out April 14th.

Jan McCanless is a retired high school teacher, and former medical technologist, who penned her first Beryl's Cove mystery back in 2005. That one book lead to the Beryl's Cove series of  13 best selling books by this award winning author, who has also penned 3 very successful compilations of her humor columns and magazine articles. She is married, the grandmother of nine cherubs, and, resides in rural North Carolina

Her latest book, under promotion now, is the compilation, Assorted Brain Drippings of  Noted Sagittarianand More Thoughts of Home  .

 Her next installment in the very popular Beryl's Cove series will be out next winter, and is entitled  Murder on the Rocks .

Jan's books are available from, empower, bookstores and gift shops around the country, or from her website 

Check her website for all her publications


  1. Thank you Jan, this was most helpful about booksignings. Great idea about getting the posters and using them as you go. The Book 'Em book-fair is a wonderful place for authors. My good friend p. m. terrell started that years ago.

  2. I love book signings, Jan, but then I'm an extrovert. lol It is a great way to meet people and introduce them to your books.