Ultimate book signing tips for avid romance readers at author events

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Get the most out of an author event with these book signing tips

Heading to a book signing and feeling the pressure? Chill, you’ve got this. Think of it as a meet-up where everyone’s as book-crazy as you are, and the only ice you need to break is deciding which author’s line to jump into first. These events are like speed dating with your bookshelf’s heroes, minus the awkward silences. We teamed up with Laura from What to Read Next Podcast to bring you our top book signing tips to make sure you’re ready to roll, even if the thought of chatting up your fave author has you sweating more than a book cliffhanger. Gear up for a day of selfies, and maybe a signed book (or ten).

Listen to the Podcast Episode

Get your book signing tickets

Alright, let’s tackle the beast – getting those tickets. Think of it as the digital Hunger Games, but instead of survival, it’s all about clicking ‘Buy’ faster than you can say “I volunteer as tribute!” Pro tip: set those alarms, chug a coffee, and get your game face on when tickets drop.

Book signings tip #1

Find upcoming book signing dates from Facebook groups, following past event organizers on social media, and even Valentine PR has a resource page with upcoming book signings and what authors are currently listed to attend.

Book signings tip #2

Once you know when the signing you’re interested in is, make a note on your calendar of the ticket on sale date and time.

Book signings tip #3

Tickets go on sale way in advance and you may not know if you’ll actually attend. Consider buying the ticket anyway and if you can’t attend, you can always resell it.

Book signings tip #4 (Pro-Tip!)

If you want to double your chances of getting those tickets before they sell out, seemingly instantly, try tag teaming with a friend. Both of you trying to score 2 tickets and as soon as one finishes the transaction let the other know. There’s a small chance you end up with double the tickets, in which case you can resell a set. It’s only happened to me once and this is how I usually bought tickets! You can simply send the other person the money for your ticket later on.

Book signings tip #5

When all else fails, buy a ticket from someone that is reselling. You can usually find these in the Facebook group of the event. But beware of overpaying! Oftentimes the event organizer may have a procedure in place for reselling tickets so check with the individual event organizer before placing that order.

Make it about more than just the books

Sure, the thrill of getting your favorite book signed is a huge draw, but the real magic of book signings often lies beyond the pages. These events are social gatherings where the air is electric with shared passion—not just for books, but for the stories and connections they foster.

Think of a book signing as a mini festival celebrating your favorite genre. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or a casual reader, there’s something invigorating about being in a space filled with people who share your interests. It’s not just about snagging an autograph; it’s about the conversations with fellow fans, the panels discussing the nuances of romance tropes, or even the quirky merchandise that you won’t find anywhere else.

Book signings tip #6

You can go for the signed books and the chance to meet authors, or you can go for the vibes. And yes, the vibes can include getting a book signed and meeting an author. But often, it’s about spending time with your bookish friends, sometimes meeting your bookish internet friends in person, or making new ones. It’s these connections that make attending book signings so special.

So, when you plan your next book signing trip, think about what you can bring to the experience that enhances your enjoyment beyond the book. Maybe it’s a custom t-shirt that shouts your fandom, or perhaps it’s a list of questions you’ve been dying to ask your favorite author. Dive into the community aspect, mingle with authors and fans alike, and you might just come away with more than just signed books—you’ll have memories and new friendships that could last a lifetime.

Get ready for the book signing

Prepping for a book signing goes beyond just marking the date on your calendar. Here’s how to ensure everything from your books to your schedule is perfectly organized for the event:

Book signings tip #7

Prepare Your Books: If you’re bringing books to get signed, prepare them in advance. Write your name on a sticky note and place it on the title page of each book you want signed, sticking out slightly so it’s easy to open right to that page. If you prefer no personalization, simply write “signature only.” This will expedite the signing process, reducing hassle for both you and the author’s assistant.

Book signings tip #8

Understand the Ticketed Authors System: Stay updated with the event’s system for handling ticketed authors. This information is crucial for planning your day, especially for popular authors who may have limited signing slots available. Ensure you know what authors you need to sign up for in advance, and how the process works at that particular event (e.g., wristbands, numbers). This is usually detailed before the event but after tickets have gone on sale, so keep an eye on announcements.

Book signings tip #9

Sign Up for Author Newsletters: For any authors you’re particularly excited to see, sign up for their newsletters. Authors often send out pre-order forms through their newsletter (and social media channels), allowing you to purchase signed books and special editions ahead of time. This is especially useful to make sure you get a copy from big-name authors, whose special editions might not be available on the day of the event.

Book signings tip #10

Bring a Book Cart: If you’re carrying multiple books, consider using a book cart. It will save your back and keep your books in good condition throughout the event. Plus, it’s a convenient way to manage your haul and keep everything organized.

Tips to navigate the event

Navigating a book signing event can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time or if it’s a particularly large venue. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience without feeling overwhelmed:

Book signings tip #11

Early Arrival: Arrive early to avoid long lines, both at the entrance and at popular authors’ tables or at panels. This not only ensures you get into the event smoothly but also increases your chances of seeing your favorite authors.

Book signings tip #12

Wear Comfortable Clothing: Opt for comfort over style when choosing what to wear. You’ll likely be standing and walking a lot, so comfortable shoes are a must. Consider layers as event spaces can vary in temperature and you can always take something off or put something on.

Book signings tip #13

Stay Hydrated and Energized: Keep a water bottle and some snacks handy. Book signings can be lengthy, and staying hydrated and fed will keep your energy up throughout the day.

Book signings tip #14

Plan the Day: Once the layout of the signing room is posted, plan whom you want to see and in what order. Consider the location of tables, expected line lengths, and your priorities to make the most efficient use of your time. Pro-Tip: you’ll want to place your books inside your book cart with that order in mind (first authors you’ll see at the top).

Book signings tip #15

Take Breaks if you need them: Don’t underestimate the value of taking short breaks to rest and recharge, especially during longer events. Find a quiet corner to sit down (yes, the floor may be the only place sometimes) for a few minutes or step outside for a breath of fresh air if the event allows it.

What to bring when books aren’t an option

Heading to a book signing without books to sign? No problem! There are many creative ways to capture the memories and still engage with your favorite authors. Here’s how you can make the most of the event:

Book signings tip #16

Creative Memorabilia: Bring items like tote bags, posters, or unique memorabilia related to your favorite books for authors to sign. These can turn into cherished keepsakes.

Book signings tip #17

Book Plates: Great for fans who prefer eBooks or audiobooks, book plates are a handy option for collecting author signatures to later place in physical books or keep as collectibles.

Book signings tip #18

Scrapbooking Supplies: Carry a small scrapbook or pieces of cardstock and journaling cards that authors can sign. You can then create a scrapbook layout featuring the signature, a photo with the author, and images of book covers.

Book signings tip #19

Digital Signatures: Collect signatures digitally using apps like Goodnotes or Procreate. This method allows each author to sign a separate file, creating a personalized digital keepsake.

Book signings tip #20

Physical Reading Journal: Dedicate a few pages in your reading journal for author signatures. This integrates the event into your reading journey, keeping all special memories in one place.

Book signings tip #21

Cardstock or Poster Board: Bring a piece of cardstock or a poster board that can be easily rolled and stored in a tube to keep it protected. This can later be framed or displayed as a unique piece of art.

Book signings tip #22

Prepared Questions or Comments: Having specific questions or comments ready can enhance your interaction with authors, making the moment more memorable and personal.

Book signings tip #23

Just Be Present: Simply engaging in conversation about an author’s work or the impact of their stories is enough. Enjoy the vibes of the event and the community of readers around you.

YouTube video

Traveling to book signings

Traveling to a book signing can turn a simple event into an exciting adventure, especially if the signing is in a city you’ve never visited. Here’s how to make the most out of your trip to a book signing:

Book signings tip #24

Plan Ahead: Check the event’s location and investigate nearby accommodations or sightseeing opportunities. You can combine the signing with a mini-vacation.

Book signings tip #25

Booking Travel and Stay: Look for hotels close to the venue for convenience. Many events partner with hotels to offer discounts to attendees, so don’t forget to ask or check the event’s website.

Book signings tip #26

Local Exploration: Extend your stay by a day or two to explore the area. Whether it’s visiting landmarks, trying local cuisine, or just strolling around, make the trip more than just about the signing.

Book signings tip #27

Travel Companions: Going with friends or meeting up with internet friends can enhance the experience. Plan group activities around the signing, like group dinners or local tours. And if you can share accommodations, it can also help keep the cost down.

Book signings tip #28

Transport and Logistics: Consider how you’ll get around once you’re there. Rental cars, public transportation, and walking are all options depending on the city’s size and your comfort level.

Book signings tip #29

Packing for the Event: Remember to pack not only your signing essentials but also appropriate attire for other activities you plan to do. Weather can vary, so be prepared with suitable clothing.

Book signings tip #30

Shipping Books: If you end up purchasing a lot of books or receiving numerous signed copies, it might be easier to ship them home rather than carrying them with you, especially if you’re flying.

Connecting with other readers

Attending a book signing is the perfect chance to connect with fellow book lovers who share your passion.

Book signings tip #31

Use Social Media: Before the event, join any relevant Facebook groups or follow hashtags related to the signing. If you have a bookish social media account, post asking who is going to be there! This is a great way to find out who else is attending and maybe even organize meet-ups.

Book signings tip #32

Be Approachable: Once you’re there, don’t be shy! Strike up conversations in lines or while waiting for panels to start. A simple comment about the event, the author you’re both in line waiting to see or a compliment on someone’s bookish tote can kickstart a friendship.

Book signings tip #33

Plan Group Activities: If you’re going with friends or have met people online who will be attending, plan some group activities outside of the signing. Group meals, sightseeing, or a night out can enhance your experience and solidify new friendships.

Book signings tip #34

Exchange Contact Information: If you hit it off with someone, don’t hesitate to exchange social media handles or email addresses. Book signings are annual for many places, and keeping in touch can lead to future meet-ups at other events.

Book signings tip #35

Attend Panels and Workshops Together: If you find others with similar interests, attending a panel or workshop together can be a great bonding experience and provide plenty to discuss afterwards.

Book signings tip #36

Be Open to New Experiences: Sometimes, just being open to the unexpected can lead to the most memorable interactions. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, join a group photo, or sit with strangers during a lunch break.

Book signing etiquette

Navigating book signings can be thrilling, but let’s not forget the golden rules of etiquette that make or break the experience. Keeping things smooth and respectful not only enhances your time but also keeps authors and fellow fans happy. Here’s how to ace it:

Book signings tip #37

Come Prepared: Have those books and items prepped with sticky notes for signatures to make your time at the table quick and meaningful. And don’t bring 25 books per author. There might even be a limit announced by the event organizer.

Book signings tip #38

Respect the Line: Your patience pays off! Stick to the queue, chat with fellow fans, and the wait will fly by.

Book signings tip #39

Be Concise: Authors adore meeting fans but remember, they have a whole line waiting. Keep your interaction brief yet memorable.

Book signings tip #40

Understand the Author: Remember, authors are people too! They might be different from their online persona—nervous, shy, or just tired. If they’re not exactly as you imagined, give them some grace. They’re navigating the crowds and compliments just like you.

Book signings tip #41

Personal Space: Be mindful of personal space. Authors and fellow attendees appreciate their personal space being respected, especially in a crowded setting.

Book signings tip #42

Use Polite Language: Even if you’re excited or nervous, keep your language courteous and respectful. This maintains a positive atmosphere and shows respect to everyone around you.

Book signings tip #43

Photos and video: Ask for permission before taking photos with authors. If photos are allowed, have your camera or phone ready to avoid delays. And if you are taking photos or videos where other people show up and plan on posting them on social media, you may want to ask anyone that will be visible if they are ok with you posting that. Or simply blur people’s faces in the background when you do.

Book signings tip #44

Handling Disappointments: If you don’t get to see every author on your list, remember to stay positive. The event is about the joy of books and the community, not just collecting autographs.

Book signings tip #45

Thank Everyone: From the volunteers to the event organizers, a simple thank you goes a long way. They’re working hard to create a memorable experience for you.

There you have it, a complete guide to making the most out of your book signing experience! Remember, whether you’re there for the signatures, the special editions, or the vibes, the goal is to enjoy every moment. So pack your bags, prep your books, and get ready for an adventure.

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