Hosting An Event
We host book signings in the store and at various off-site venues. Some of these originate at the behest of a traditional publisher, some from an author or group of authors, some from an organization or group hosting a book related event, some from our own initiative.
If you are interested in having a book signing with Talking Leaves, or any independent bookstore, for that matter, here are some things to ponder before you reach out to the store (consider them hurdles rather than hard and fast rules):
- Are you familiar with the store; have you ever visited, been a customer?
- Do you have adequate and up to date knowledge about it—the kinds of books it stocks, its reputation, its policies, its role in the community?
- Would your book fit into its basic stock selection?
- Do you frequent and support local independent businesses like the store you are asking to support you?
- Have you ever been to one of the store’s events?
- What do you hope to gain by having a book signing? Is the store the best place to accomplish this?
- If you are published by a traditional publisher, is it willing and able to support a book signing?
Marketing an event, getting people to attend and to purchase books, is a collaboration between store, author, organization, and publisher. Events rarely succeed without a cooperative effort. Approach your potential host as a partner, not an adversary. We both want our efforts to introduce and promote your work to succeed.
Bookstores are primarily engaged in the selling of books; book sales at events afford the store the ability to continue to host them. Make sure that the folks you invite to attend a signing for you understand this. Asking a store to host an event after you’ve given copies to friends and family, and/or after you’ve encouraged people in the community to buy the book online will not gain a great deal of traction. Bringing books purchased elsewhere to an event is not unlike bringing your own food to a restaurant--inconsiderate and tacky. Consider making your local store or stores an actual partner, the place you send all inquiries about purchasing your book, perhaps the principal supplier of autographed copies.
Give the store (and yourself) adequate time to promote an event.
Provide the store with as much information as you can when you make a request—who you are, title and publication information, contact information, potential audience, why we should be interested. (Telling us that your book is available and/or well-reviewed on Amazon will not impress us, or persuade us of its quality, or make us more likely to order and support it. Instead, it may cause us to wonder how well you've researched contemporary bookselling, and where you typically purchase your own books.)
We may choose not to carry your book or host an event--our decisions are based on our experience and our judgment about what will work in our store, what will appeal to our customers. We have been doing this a long time, and though we are by no means infallible, we have a pretty good sense of what books our community is most interested in at any given time.
Patience, remember, is a virtue. We get a lot of requests, and we are all busy with the day to day tasks of running a retail bookstore, navigating a world in which about a million books a year are floated in front of us .