I've done both solo book signings and ones with other authors, and I've found that I really enjoy the ones I do with other authors the most. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed my duet signing with fellow Colorado Springs mystery author Robert Spiller last weekend, and it was a successful signing for both of us. Also, I'm looking forward to my signing in Breckenridge this Friday with Ann Parker, who writes historical mysteries set in Leadville, CO. Over the years, though, I've learned a few things that help make multi-author signings work better. Here's three tips.
1. Choose authors you know well and can work well with. You should have the mutual goal of chatting more with customers than with each other, be willing to pitch each other's books, especially if one of you needs a restroom break, and have common marketing styles. For instance, I don't sit much during an event, except to actually sign a book, and I greet store customers as they come in the door and offer a bookmark. So, doing an event with an author who just wants to sit at the table and let people approach us would not be compatible with my style. Similarly, I would not be comfortable with someone who has a brash, pushy approach or dresses up in costumes (Contrary to suggestions, I refuse to wear a basket on my head!).
2. Choose fellow signers whose book compliment yours, having both similar characteristics and something to distinguish them. For instance, both Ann Parker's books and mine are set in Colorado and are mysteries, but hers are historical and mine are contemporary. So, we can easily find out if a customer is interested in mysteries in general, then narrow that down to historical or contemporary and make sure the person is talking to the right author.
3. I find duet signings work better than signings with a larger group. Facing a row of four or five authors can be intimidating to customers who feel that if they approach the table, to be polite they have to buy a book from each author. To counteract this, you need a greeter (which could be one of the authors, with everyone taking a turn). That greeter hands a customer the giveaways from all the authors, if the customer is interested, and states clearly that none of the authors expects anyone to buy all their books, but the goal is to find one book they're most interested in.
Beth, these are great tips. I make appearances with a group of authors and you're right--frequently the readers look reluctant to approach our table. I like your idea of a greeter.
Mystery Writing is Murder
I went (as a reader) to a signing with a large group of authors once and really enjoyed it. The authors did talk among themselves, but they always included the nearest readers in the conversation and made us feel so welcome and so special. It was less daunting than walking up to an author unintroduced and asking for an autograph.
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