The Best Place to Hold a Book Signing

Photo by Jennifer Smith, with Holon author Taversia, at her release of  Viscountess, a Novel by Taversia .  Story by Ian Girdley. 

Photo by Jennifer Smith, with Holon author Taversia, at her release of Viscountess, a Novel by Taversia
Story by Ian Girdley. 


If we want to do live book signings, as we covered in The Power of the Live Author, what is the best place to hold a book signing?  The short answer is anywhere and everywhere.  The more you vary your venues the larger and more varied group of readers you reach.

The long answer is that it depends.  First, it depends on your goals—are you just trying to garner exposure or do you need to maximize the money you make off of each book sold, do you simply need a location for those that you’ve invited or are you seeking a location that will drive traffic for you?  Second, it depends on your book.

Let’s digress for a moment then move backwards.  Let’s quickly define what a book signing is, or, what we want it to be.  What we don’t want is to sit at a table for two to four hours waiting for shoppers to come up and buy our book.  This type of book signing rarely yields much fruit in sales or engagement.  We want to hold book signings that are literary events, that give us a chance to engage an audience with a reading, a short talk, and/or a Q&A session before we get down to the business of signing and selling books. 

TIP:  A book signing with multiple authors can draw a larger crowd, and larger sales for all authors involved, but we will save the how and what of book signings for a later post and get back to the where.

Now, back to the question at hand:

To Bookstore or Not to Bookstore?

This question brings us back to your goals.  If you need to make a book signing financially lucrative then stay away from bookstores.  Bookstores take a fairly hefty cut of the profit leaving you with little in the way of revenue for each book sold.  Yes, this means that you will have to buy the books to sell at the venue, but the increased profit margin to yourself (generally 40-55% of the cover price) makes this the best strategy. 

Bookstores can be a good place to have a book signing if they are willing to promote the event and draw people in, basically earning their stake in the profits.  This is particularly good for authors that are more concerned with building their audience than gaining returns.  Local, independent bookstores tend to do this better than the national chains and are generally more willing to make your signing into an event rather than sit you at a table for a few hours to wait for your Facebook friend’s to show up and give the store the lion’s share of profits.

TIP:  If you still want to seek out bookstores after reading this, use Google Maps to search out bookstores in your area (Tutorial Here).  Visit each store’s website.  Bookstores that keep an up-to-date events calendar already featuring literary events are a good place to start.

Thinking Outside the Bookstore

So, you have decided to stay away from bookstores, or you are a wise author and want to gain as much exposure as possible by expanding your venues.  So now you ask, “Ian, where is anywhere and everywhere?  Where is the best place to hold a book signing?” 

There is really no wrong place to have a book signing, really.  There are the go-to places like cafes, libraries, restaurants, schools, community centers, etc.  There are also places that most people wouldn’t consider.  I have planned or attended successful literary events at a furniture store, in a random college student’s basement, at a yoga studio, at a dive bar, in the middle of the mall, and so on.  If you can get a reading with a student group at a college, even better, as they do all of the promotion for you and have a built in audience.

What you are really looking for is a place that can help draw in an audience and can benefit from the audience that you work together to create. 

Begin with places you are comfortable with or to which you have some connection.  Do you know the owner of the local drugstore?  Set up a signing there and leave a few books behind for them to sell.  Worked out theological details of your Christian fiction book with your pastor?  See if you can hold a reading in the fellowship hall.   Belong to a local club or lodge?  Speak with the events coordinator about a signing during an annual event or as a standalone event. 

Even some chain restaurants have hosted authors I’ve worked with because they spent so much time writing there.  From there explore other go-to places and then start to think outside the box.  Start close to home then expand geographically.

Venues that have a connection to your book’s theme can also be invaluable.  You published a non-fiction book on sports?  Approach a sporting goods store.  Your mystery novel is set largely on a golf course?  Consider a reading and a game at the country club?  The possibilities are endless.

Some months ago, I spent five minutes of a morning meeting with my team of Book Consultants on an activity brainstorming venues that were feasible for a book signing.  I listed bookstores and the other go-to venues before we began.  Within five minutes we had fifty different venues.

Where is the Best Place to Have a Book Signing? 

Again, the answer is anywhere and everywhere, so long as you are comfortable approaching the venue, they are willing to have you, and it will give you a chance to engage an audience instead of sitting at a table.  The best place isn’t a single place, but as many places as you can muster.

5 Tips for an awesome Book Cover Design

By Jeremy Gotwals | Photo by MIranda Hewins

By Jeremy Gotwals | Photo by MIranda Hewins

1. Less is More

In book design, clarity is essential. Typically, you have only milliseconds to appeal to your potential reader. Therefore, keep it simple. The best book covers have one incredible piece of art, and basic typography. Don't burden your cover with unnecessary effects or extras. 

2. Find a Brilliant Photo or Illustration

Find a unique image that represents your book, identity, and  brand. Remember: in a matter of moments, to a potential reader, the image, as well as the title, will tell the reader everything they want to know. Sometimes, to compel your reader, all you have is an image; so make sure it counts! Finding a brilliant photo or illustration often means finding a brilliant photographer or illustrator. Stock photos do not count! Remember, you want a unique image. 

3. Typography & Font selection

A title speaks 1,000 words, even if your title is only one word. However, it is not only the words that will speak to its readers on a subconscious level, but the typeface. Correct use and alignment of typography is often greatly overlooked by the Indie Author. You want to be sure to stick with fonts that are clear, easy to read, and also strong. Your font should never be an overused, or overdone font, such as Times New Roman, Papyrus, or Comic Sans, and you almost never want to have more than three fonts on the cover of your book. Furthermore, never mix moods to the point of confusion. 

4. Mood

Bring to life a cover that matches the mood of your manuscript. If your book is satire, you want the life of your cover to reflect the satyrical nature of your book. If you've written a thriller novel, craft a cover that takes the potential reader into the suspense of your tail. Treat your book cover like a living thing, allow it to speak for itself. A great book deserves a great book cover - allow for the mood and atmosphere to resonate with the reader upon the first glance. 

5. Tell Your Story 

The First Edition of the Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

The First Edition of the Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

Later edition of the Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

Later edition of the Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien. 

The cover of your book should deliver a microcosm of your story. The very first edition of The Hobbit, by J.R.R Tolkien, portrayed a simple illustration of one of the books chief characters Smaug, and a simple portrayal of the Lonely Mountain at the top. This first illustration, by the author, is an example of the kind of minimalism we're discussing here, which gives readers a magical piece of the story, begging them to look deeper. Later, the over art was re-illustrated more elaborately, but still executed the same principles.

Whether you've crafted a work of fiction, a Children's book, or an educational treatise into health and happiness, tell the readers a story by delivering a cover that gives an insight into the nature of your core message. 

Remember that a great cover design is something to be carefully considered. If you're an independent author, or you're using a self-publishing service, sometimes the temptation to design the cover yourself is strong. If you want your book to be in the hands of readers, it's worth your time to invest in great design. Carefully chose designers, or a company, that can fit your budget and design needs.

Also remember that designing for web is not the same as designing for print. Make sure that your design utilizes high resolution images and files, and is also standardized for web, so that you can get the best of both worlds. 

We Crave Books: Instagram Contest

#WECRAVEBOOKS Photo Contest. Design & Photo by Holon. 

#WECRAVEBOOKS Photo Contest. Design & Photo by Holon. 

Love Books? Love Indie Books? So do we! 
We're giving away a bunch of books to the winners of our Instagram photo contest! Hashtag #WeCraveBooks with your photos of any books to get in on the action and we might just be sending you a signed copy of one of our indie books! 

We will announce the Local Winners of the contest, first, this weekend, January 17th & 18th with the national, and international winners of the contest in at the end of February. 


Will there be more than one winner? Yes. 
Do I have to live in Bloomington? No. 
How will I know if I won? We will message you directly on Facebook or Instagram, as well as post  photo to our website, facebook page, twitter, and instagram, with you tagged as the winner. 
When will I get my books?: If you live in Bloomington, Indiana, you can get your books THIS FRIDAY at our book launch of "Saviors, a Novel by Matt Seidel" 
What if I can't make the event?: Then please email us your shipping address and we will mail it to you, free of charge. 
When will I get my books if I don't live in Bloomington?: At the end of February, or March, we will let you know.

Please email us with any questions on the contact us section of our website!