Author Name: Jay Thomas Willis
Book Title(s): Implications For Effective Psychotherapy With African-Americans; As Soon as the Weather Breaks; The Cotton is High; Born to be Destroyed; Paranoid but not Stupid; Why Black Americans Behave as They Do; Hard Luck; When the Village Idiot Get Started; Educated Misunderstanding; The Devil in Angelica.
Marketing Subject: Book Signings as a Marketing Tool
There are many ways to market your book; book signings are just one way. It’s sometimes hard to make book signings profitable, but under the right conditions you can potentially make a profit and gain some exposure for yourself and your book.
Book signings are usually not profitable, because of the money it takes to promote the book signing. If you don’t heavily promote the book signing, no one will likely attend. Advertising on radio can be expensive and TV advertising usually out of proportion. At one time you could almost get free advertising on radio, but no more. Even stamps for the bookstore to mail letters to those on its mailing list can prove too expensive to be worthwhile.
I once did a book signing at a bookstore, and they felt it would be unprofitable simply to mail a letter to everyone on their mailing list. Most bookstores simply want to rely on walk-ins, and handing out fliers to a few customers, if the author will have them printed. You must be careful about this; some of them will put on a signing, yet, fail to advertise as promised. In addition, seating in bookstores is usually so limited that even if a large audience showed up it couldn’t be accommodated. Today, you have to think like a businessman. Usually with bookstore signings you’re only going to get a limited number of customers, and even then only a few of these are going to purchase a copy of your book. You have to especially consider the state of the economy.
The best way to make a book signing profitable is to rent a large space. By renting a large space you can potentially get the volume in traffic to make a profit. But if you do this you better be sure of several things: you must advertise extensively on local radio—TV if possible; you should post fliers in the neighborhood, at libraries, local colleges, and everywhere else you can.
It will be better to go from city to city renting a large space and heavily advertising in each, rather than relying on bookstores, your profit margin will probably be greater. If you don’t have the factor of “name recognition,” even renting a large hall and extensive advertising may only produce a small amount of potential customers.
In this way, even if you don’t make a profit the potential for exposure of your book is good. If you advertise on radio, pass out, and put up fliers; you might reach people interested in your book, and generate some sales, even if the people don’t attend your book signing.
If you are going to make a book signing profitable, and get maximum exposure, it will be necessary to engage in long range and extensive planning, not simply rely on the efforts of bookstores.
Photo by: pjern