Friday, November 16, 2012

Laura O'Connell: Don't Be Stuck on a Desert Island!

Please welcome Laura O'Connell to the blog today!

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 At a book signing we all wish we could be J.K. Rowling with a line of readers, waiting to have their book signed, extending to around the block. Unfortunately, for most of us it feels like we’re stuck on a desert island waiting for someone to come and rescue us.

Unless you’re a well-known and long-established author, book signings can leave you feeling lonely, disillusioned and unappreciated, however, they’re a good way of getting your face and name out to the reading world. Here are a few tips you might like to try to engage with readers as they come into the store.

1.       Don’t stand behind the table. It puts a barrier between you and your reader. Standing at the front or to the side makes you more approachable. Draw them into conversation starting with something like, “Hello, I’m a visiting author today…”.

2.       Build a relationship. Some readers are shy. They avoid eye contact and will take a roundabout way to get to the shelves they want. When there’s no one waiting for me to sign a book at the table, I come alongside these shy people and start talking about some of the books on the shelves. I ask them what books they’ve read or which authors are their favourites. It’s not long before they say they saw me over at the table when they walked in and ask what I’m doing. That’s the moment I start talking about myself and within minutes others will come to see what we’re talking about.

3.       Understand the book stores’ customers. Some customers know exactly what they want and will not be side-tracked from their mission. They’ve been here before and know the layout. Let them complete their task. You won’t engage them in a conversation until they’ve made their purchase. Then they have the time to see what else is going on. Take time to approach them and engage them in conversation.

4.       As soon as they enter the store, some readers want to know authors. This type of reader will come up to the table and ask what you’re doing. Start the conversation by talking about them. They’ll be impressed you’re taking time to listen to them. Before long the conversation will switch to you and then you can talk about yourself and your book.

Don’t be shy during a book signing. Reach out to others and the majority will respond in a positive way. Being an author is all about building a relationship with your reader, a bookstore signing is an excellent way of meeting your readers face to face.
About Laura O’Connell
Laura enjoys writing stories about second chances in love and life. She calls the Gold Coast home, however, her curious nature leads her on adventures to locations that surprise and delight her. Laura has a passion for telling a good story set in places where she has lived and travelled. Her first book, African Hearts, was shortlisted in the 2011 Caleb Prize.

Laura around the web:
Website             Facebook              Twitter        Author Page

Book Blurb – Web of Lies
High school sweethearts, Stephanie and Lachlan are torn apart by circumstance, bad decisions and a web of lies, leaving an unknown future for their son, Ryan.
Eight years later they reconnect, but the time apart has changed them. The family had made decisions based on lies and deceit and now must find a way to either reveal the truth or find another option. On the surface, their arrangements seemed flawless, but dig deeper, and the people they thought they knew aren’t as they appear.
Lachlan and Stephanie are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and the entire family is compelled to reveal the truth, find forgiveness, and renew loving one another. But the hardest decision is still to come … where does Ryan live?

Buy Links:

Amazon                  Amazon UK


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Thanks Laura! Good advice! Making the time to speak to the customers about their interests is very smart!!

How about you? Does the thought (or reality) of a booksigning terrify you? Or are you one of those calm and cool types? (If so, I'm jealous!! - any more tips?) :)

43 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post, Laura. I'll remember these tips when (yes, WHEN) I have a book signing of my own!

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  2. Great post, Laura!

    Planning an event with other authors is also a good way to avoid the island syndrome. At my last signing, my group of writers were having such a good time, other customers were drawn over to our laughter and conversation to see what was going on.

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  3. Jeff - WHEN is perfect!! :)

    Dianne - that's a great idea! Being alone is always tougher - having a gang would be great :)

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  4. Good tips! Real life appearances like that scare me.

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  5. Great points. I do all of them, but it also helps if the bookstore gives you a good spot.

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  6. Excellent advice!
    I also found when I had something to hand them for free ( a pen or bookmark) that drew them over and then I could talk with them.

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  7. These are great tips! I'm never a fan of doing signings, so it's helpful to have ideas for making them easier. :)

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  8. Great tips. I've done group signings, but never one on my own. A bowl of candy helps draw people to the table, too.

    Happy Weekend!

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  9. Very good advice. Thank you for sharing. It will be good to know some things to do if I ever do one - other wise I would be very lost and probably hide under the table

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  10. Alex - you and me both! :)

    Susan - our bookstores aren't all that big here - don't know where they'd put an author!

    Jennifer - freebies are a great idea!

    Elizabeth - I agree - it's not a part I look forward too! :)

    Carol - candy is a great idea!!

    Jack - that's probably where'd I'd like to be too! :)

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  11. I'd probably hide under the table. ;)
    Thanks for such good tips. Hopefully, some day....

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  12. Tricia - I'm so with you - on all counts!

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  13. I think I'd hide under the table too. Great post.

    Thanks Laura and Jemi.

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  14. Wendy - that table's getting crowded with all of us wedging our way there! :)

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  15. Thank you Jemi for having me on your blog. I had intended to comment yesterday, but had technical difficulties. Always challenging! Thank you all for dropping by and giving your ideas. All great and will put some into practice when I'm doing signings for Web of Lies. Whatever it takes to break the ice. Have a fun weekend everyone! :)

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  16. Hi Jemi and hi Laura,

    What useful info in regards to book signing and I will bear it in mind. Of course, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar, is well rehearsed on book signings and puts her adoring fans at ease..

    Have a good weekend, eh.

    Gary :)

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  17. Gary - I'm not surprised Penny has good information - she's always so well prepared!! :)

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  18. Hi Jemi and Laura,

    What an interesting post. It is a way for an author to reach out to readers. I haven't really had the opportunity to attend book signings but I do look forward to attending one whenever I can. I find that interacting with authors on the net is also a good way to communicate and give feedback.

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  19. Maria - I've never been to a book signing either - I don't think we've had any in our city before. One of these days :)

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  20. Thanks for these tips. I'll definitely keep them in mind. :)

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  21. Totally agree! I've done close to 300 book signings and you can't just sit there. You have to engage people, move around, hand out bookmarks... And don't forget to engage the staff, too.

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  22. Medeia - these are awesome :)

    Diane - 300!!! Wow! That's fabulous :)

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  23. those are all delightful tips...

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  24. Diane, 300!! You should be writing this blog. Thanks to everyone for dropping by. :)

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  25. Laura - I know! That 300 is a huge number!! Thanks for a great post, Laura :)

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  26. What great advice! I always enjoy meeting authors- but sometimes I get nervous. :) I haven't done a book signing yet- but I can how it can be like being on a deserted island.
    ~Jess

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  27. Jess - Agreed - no one likes that deserted island feeling! :)

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  28. How cool, my IRL friend hanging out ony my online friend's blog.
    I've read the book! Oh my goodness what a mess of lies they have to unravel!
    I hope every one else enjoys reading it too.
    Xx

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  29. Michelle - that's so cool!!! It sounds like an awesome read :)

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  30. I've been fortunate that nearly all of my signings have been with at least one other author. That gives me someone to talk to if there aren't any customers. It also lets potential customers check out my books without feeling like they'll get stuck!

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  31. Beth - I like that idea - being with someone would make the whole experience less awkward! :)

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  32. Excellent tips - thanks for sharing. I hope I get to use them someday!

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  33. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and further tips, I'll be taking on board at my next signings.

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  34. Like Susan, I hope to get to use these tips some day :-)

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  35. Agnes - me too! :)

    Thanks again, Laura :)

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  36. Great tips!! I think book signings would terrify me ;)

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  37. These are great tips. I'm going to file them away somewhere in the memory bank...

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  38. Nas - they are great tips!

    Michelle - they are! Hopefully we get to use them someday! :)

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