June 19, 2020

Igniting Your Book Launch – Part III

DiAnn Mills       @diannmills

In our third and final session of the series: Igniting Your Book Launch, we will cover the topics of how to create successful book signings and special events.

Book signing events are an opportunity for the writer to serve:
·        The bookstore owner.
·        The employees.
·        The customers/potential readers.
·        The publisher.

Usually signings are held at bookstores, speaking venues, and in convention type settings. Just about anywhere people shop is an opportunity for a book event. Consider coffee shops, gift stores, craft stores, grocery stores sewing shops, clothing boutiques, and etc. A book signing in a non-bookstore setting means no other book related competition. The goal is to make the signing an event. Be creative and consider your book’s topic and how it can fit into other retail opportunities.

At a book signing or speaking event, the writer greets people and draws them into conversations that are sincere and genuine. A writer who sincerely reaches out to her audience forms valuable relationships. Sometimes a writer recommends books that are not her own but can equip and help a reader.

Our efforts don’t necessarily mean every event will result in huge book sales, but our hard work can impact a life positively. The number of books sold do count, but relationships are more important. Perhaps this new face may not have purchased a book the day of the signing event, but the person will remember you in the future as one who displayed a friendly attitude and wasn’t pushy.

Bookstore owners, conference directors, managers, and sales staff are busy people. We are the ones responsible for making the event the best. Readers want to hear what we have to say about our craft, our subject matter, and our passion. If public speaking is foreign, then seek training to sharpen speaker skills.

Tips to help personalize a book signing or speaking event

1.     Pray for guidance.
2.     Be authentic – a writer uses her personality to market her brand.
3.     Be organized and prepared.
4.     Plan a giveaway if the writer’s plan or budget allows.
5.     Take pics and request permission to email or text to those in the image.
6.     Cultivate a servant’s heart. Remember the event is not about the writer but those in attendance.
7.     Thank the person in charge and all those who helped develop the event.

Some writers engage a book publicist.

A book publicist can help a writer gain more exposure and find new readers. However, a publicist can’t guarantee high sales, TV interviews, or top placement in print media any more than an agent can guarantee a book will sell to a publisher.

Key points to consider:
1.     Does the publicist have experience?
1.     Who is on their client list? Then contact those clients for their recommendations.
2.     What could this person do for the you that you cannot do for yourself?
3.     How is the writer consulted before information about the writer’s brand and book content are released?
4.     What is the publicist’s media contacts that would be a good fit for the book?
5.     What is the publicist’s cost?
6.     How does the publicist organize and share timely reports?
7.     What is the wordage of the contract and how can it be terminated?

A writer takes charge of her book launch. She has the most passion for the book, but she also understands the value of the marketing team, sales staff, and those around her who are working to ensure the launch is a success. Book signings and special events allow readers to form a bond with the writer. A professional writer takes the time to ensure she offers her best.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here:


  1. DiAnn,

    Thank you for these tips about special events and book signings. These events are all part of our journey as authors and take a lot of behind the scenes effort for them to be successful. I recall bestselling novelist Debbie Macomber would send a postcard to everyone on her mailing list within 20 miles of her signing. I've received these postcards as well as heard about her crowded book signings. They take effort.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  2. Terry, thanks for your kind words. The goal in launching a book is always how to reach our audience with our message. I love the interaction with all those involved in launching and reading a book!

  3. Great tips! I enjoy book signings because I meet such interesting people.

  4. Thank you so much DiAnn Mills for this post. It is so helpful. I especially thank you for the key points you gave us.

  5. I appreciate the reminder that book signings are relational and important to the ongoing connection.