Writing a novel is such a lonely and singular experience. It forces you to dig deep into your own subconscious to explore themes and ideas that may surprise or even scare you, as well as dare you to push past your comfort zone. There you are, alone with your thoughts for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years, hoping that your offering to the literary cosmos is good enough.
At long last, your book gets published. Then, you have the daunting task of stepping out into public view to promote it, not just to your own circle but to the wide world of book lovers everywhere. I was rather anxious about this part of the experience, especially when it came to book signing events. I was very lucky to have local support from my community in setting a couple of events up and I learned a lot from the experience.
#1: It’s great to be creative in your presentation, but you don’t have to go overboard. Props and decorations aren’t really necessary, but they can help you create an ambience in your small little corner that will attract interested passers-by. I went for a very simple table décor that represented what I felt was the theme of my book and it caught people’s attention as they browsed through the bookstore. Posters of your work are very helpful as well as a sample copy of the book that people can peruse while they explore your table.
#2: Don’t expect a crowd but be prepared for a good showing. I tried to ensure that I had enough copies of my book for a good-sized crowd. I also had business cards, book marks promoting my book, and information about House of Honor Books. For my first book signing, I was very grateful that I brought the supplies I did. There were a lot more people stopping by my table than I had planned on. Even if they didn’t take a book, though many did, they still came to check out what I had to offer, hear about my book, and chat for a moment.
#3: Talking to your readers can make a huge difference. At these book signings, it was a wonderful, eye-opening experience to talk to readers. I got a better understanding of what they liked and what they were looking for in a book. Chatting with people at the book signing table helped me to realize my target audience and what it means to write to your audience. I found that there were a lot of expectations for the genre I was writing in, I will certainly be taking these things back to my thinking place as I work on my future novels.
Overall, promoting my book through events was amazing. If anything, it helped me to understand that my words can reach people, inspire them, and create incredible bonds with people I may never really meet. We are all bonded in the adventures we experience on the pages of books, whether we’re writing them or reading them. Here’s to every adventure we now face and those we venture toward in the future.
Keshia C. Willi