This is not a question I normally ask myself. Well, unless a family member or a close friend asks for a favour and I ask tongue in cheek. However it was a question I asked myself recently when I did my first in-store book signing.
A few days before I was asked "how much are they paying you?" The look of surprise was amusing when I replied, "Oh, I don't get paid anything!" I was then asked, "so what percentage of sales are you getting?" Again the look of surprise when I replied, "none!" made me smile. "So what's in it for you."
I was going to give the following reasons:
- Getting my name known
- Meeting my target audience
- Increasing sales
However I realised perhaps there was very little in it for me. I already had a way of achieving these goals. I can get my name known locally, meet my target audience and increase sales by doing presentations to local groups. I started to break down the benefits of doing these presentations rather than doing a book signing. They broke down as follows:
The plus of doing a presentation to a group of children (e.g. Rainbows, Brownies, Cubs):
- The children are excited to meet an author who is there to see 'them.'
- They are not being pulled from one shop to another by a rushed parent who does not have time and did not plan to stop to talk to an author.
- I meet the target audience for my picture books.
- I am able to spend quality time with them talking about my books and my work in a relaxed atmosphere.
The plus of giving a presentation to a group of adults (OPA Groups, WI's etc.):
- I meet those who purchase my picture books and often have to read them.
- They are also the target audience for my adult non-fiction books.
- This is 'their' time and they are there to enjoy themselves.
- They do not have to fit me in with the 101 other things they have to do whilst out shopping.
The plus of giving a presentation to any group:
- I go to them as a group and do not have to keep fingers crossed they come to me; they are a captive audience.
- Any books I sell I keep any profit.
- I charge a fee to cover my time and expenses; again the money goes directly into my pocket.
- I don't have to compete with the noise and jostle that takes place in a shop.
- If they enjoy my presentation they become my sales force and pass on my contact details to other groups.
Having looked at the above I've now decided that perhaps doing a book signing in a shop is not right for me. I can get far more from giving a presentation and my audience hopefully gains more from me.
So let me put it out there. What's in a book signing for you?