As a small, independent publisher, I'm often asked by prospective authors where they can see their books displayed so they can watch readers oooh and ahhh over their books.  Well, one thing for sure, the book publishing industry has and continues to change at such a pace, it's been a long time since I attempted anything like that.  Nowadays, it's mostly about sales ranks and monthly marketing reports from the various online sales.  Those wonderful, brick and mortar (B&M) bookshops perched askew loaded with new to ancient hardcover works have been replaced by the "Big Two:"  Barnes & Noble and Borders Books - both mass market selling houses.  In this same league are their supermarket counterparts, WalMart, Costco and other rapidly emerging "volume" discount stores.  So where's an author to go to meet readers and do a friendly booksigning? 

The answer right now is the local independent bookstores.  Individually there remain hundreds of thousands, collectively commanding a still substantial share of the B&M books sales market. More importantly, they are local and many care about new and emerging local authors.  Savant Books strongly supports local independent booksellers (as well as the larger chains and groups) by acknowledging each independent bookseller who carries one or more of our books on our front webpage!  This is also one of the best places to go to arrange a bookstore booksigning.  Don't think Barnes & Noble and Borders don't know what's happening over at their competitor bookstores, and that's often, in my experience, the pathway to a booksigning party at one of the local "Big Two." 

But let's get more basic.  Even the independent bookstores these days are having a hard go of it.  A booksigning just doesn't work for them unless it sells a lot of books to cover the expense and inconvenience of the event.  I've found over the years that one of the best opportunities for a booksigning is a local "book release party" - and, hey, I invite any and all of my Savant authors and staff to join me whenever I plan one.  The more people inviting people, the better.  I especially like a large garage party:  pupus (that's light snacks for you non-Hawaiians out there) and sometime pleasant to water a parched throat with, as well as a good display of books from Savant, 20 to 100 books of my own, and a sturdy table with ink pen.  I like to run the party as an "all day" party from 9 a.m. right through to about 10 p.m. so everyone has the chance to come and visit.  I order my books about 4 weeks before, and run my adds in the free newpapers and events columns about three weeks before.  Two weeks before I send out invitations by email and, where appropriate by mail.  I always invite all my friends, acquaintences and work colleagues.  They are often surprised that I'm an author.  A week before I put up signs on lightposts (if permitted).  I've even done a book release party at a local church to which I donated $1 per booksale for the use of their parking lot.  Always invite the mayor, governor, and heads of key organizations like the local writer's guild, and agencies with a topic interest in the work.  I usually have people signup their address/email for news of future book releases and parties, and if they signup, put their name in for one of several free signed copies of this and any other of my books I want to publicize.  I often look around for "free business card" offers and print up 250 cards with an image of my book and purchase information including address. 

I'm sure with that as a start, you can take it from there and build on this basic foundation.  Invite the press.  Hey, why not, I've actually had a camera crew drop by on a slow night for free coverage. 

Daniel S. Janik
Savant Books and Publications