Best Laid Plans of Mice, Men and Book Signing Events

40403589_sOkay, it is time to get personal. Are you the type of person that lives and dies by the to-do list, everything is planned far in advance and every possible eventuality has been thought through?

Or, are you the type of person that when leaving for two weeks in Europe in the morning still hasn’t packed or located your passport?

If you are the later, this article is for you.

Earlier this year I wrote an article about planning a book launch event and I would suggest that you check it out. The article talks about the planning stages, marketing the event and then the actual book launch party.

However, the one part of that I want to focus on today is how you make sure that you have everything will need during the event. Start by putting together a check list of what you think you might need. There is nothing worse than arriving and realizing you forgot business cards or didn’t bring enough books. When it comes to having a successful event the adage “less is more” is the opposite of the way you need to think. It is better to bring 100 extra books for sale than having ten too few.

Here is my checklist to get you started:

  • Table
  • Chair[s]
  • Money box with change [recommend $100 minimum of change]
  • Receipt book
  • Calculator
  • Business cards
  • Pen for signing / extra pens
  • Scissors
  • Tape: cellophane and strapping
  • Tablecloth
  • Sunscreen [if outside]
  • Extension Cord
  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Books
  • Bags for books purchased
  • Markers
  • Display for Book
  • Decorations for table
  • Camera
  • Cell phone [for emergencies]

And just when you think the list has everything on it you might need, you find there are actually a few more things to consider.

In a Huffington Post article entitled Planning an Exceptional Book Signing, the author reviews much of what I have shared previously but their checklist of things to bring offer a few more ideas:

Things To Bring To Your Book Signing

  • Bookmarks – I try to hand these out like crazy. Sometimes I’ll even hand them out with the flyer when people enter the store. I’ve even autographed one or two when people hesitate to buy a book. More often than not, they return at a later time to buy a copy just because I gave them a bookmark.
  • Postcards – Bring postcards with your book cover on them. I always say you can never have too many marketing materials.
  • Chocolate – I like to fill an attractive jar with Hershey’s kisses or some other small chocolate. Food attracts people and may even keep them lingering a bit longer.
  • Sign-up sheet – I always have people sign in at the event. If they give you their email address, ask if you can add them to your mailing list. This is a great way to build a “fan club” and continue spreading the word about your book as well as future novels. To encourage sign-ups, you could also do a raffle but make sure that folks don’t have to be present to win. That can be a big turn off.
  • Make up a small flyer to hand to people who enter the store. They may not even know about your signing but you’ll be sure to tell them. Keep in mind that heavy promotion of your book signing does not just benefit you, it also benefits the store and sends a strong message that you know how to move your books.
  • Your favorite pen.


I really like the bookmark idea. Halo specializes in full color bookmarks, business cards and event posters.  We can customize your author signing kit with all your information, including information on how they can find you on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your YouTube channel and of course the link to purchase more of your books. 


The gap between a successful event and one that is less than successful is in the detailed planning. Make sure that you begin the planning process far enough in advance to allow time for ordering more books as well as gathering the other supplies you might need.

Tip: Consider keeping a bag in your trunk that has an emergency supply of your books, business cards, bookmarks and favorite signing pen. You never know when you might be at a networking event that allows you to sell your books after lunch.

You might also find the opportunity to sell books when attending your kid’s sporting event. Casual conversation with other parents during the time outs or endless practices just might lead to someone saying, “Hey, so where can I buy your book.”  Wouldn’t it be great to say – hang on – I have a few in the car – you can buy one right now!

Be ready at any time to promote and sell your books.

Bottom Line: Be prepared to make the most of every opportunity by being well prepared in advance.