Barnes & Noble, Dark Awakening book signing location, Lahaina, HI
Lahaina, HI location for Dark Awakening’s first book signing.

Marketing a romantic sci-fi through a book signing is not for the feint of heart!

It takes a lot of preparation, savvy understanding of social media and a willingness to meet lots of new people.

And a bucket load of candy. . .

While I carefully prepared for the book signing, there were a few things at the event that caught me a bit off guard. So if you’re thinking of doing a book signing for your romantic sci-fi novel, or you’re eagerly anticipating your first, check out the three things below that will help you get the most out of your 2-hour spotlight!

Be prepared to talk about your book

I wasn’t.

In the whirlwind of creating posters and bookmarks, I didn’t stop to practice my 30-second elevator pitch about my story. In fact, the first time I was asked this question at my book signing, my answer went something like this . . .

“Uhh, . . . it’s a romance novel . . . a sci-fi romance novel about a woman with the gift of sight. She gets kidnapped. Oh yeah, and the New World Order tries to kill her. . .”

Yep. Smooth.

The tough part was that once I started talking about the novel, I started doubting my story line and more importantly, my ability to really sell someone on why they would want to read the story.

Epic fail.

Save yourself the headache (and the feeling that you’ll want to hide under your table) and practice your elevator pitch.

Fortunately, it did get easier for me even during the short time I had at my book signing. I even began using different starting points depending on who was talking with me. Men found the science fiction and conspiracy theory aspects of Dark Awakening to be intriguing. So I often started there with them.Karlene Cameron book signing

I also found it easier to initiate conversation by asking what kind of books the person enjoyed. I was surprised at how many people wanted to know who my favorite author was or what books I would compare my romance novel to. So it’s a good idea to think about this and have your answers prepared.

One of the more interesting tidbits of feedback I received was in reference to the cover. Several folks said they thought my romance novel was a horror story based on the title (unfortunately, Dark Awakening shares the same title as a recently released horror film) and one gentleman even asked if I had written the movie!

Most people will try to avoid you

I assumed anyone interested in my book would want to talk with me, meet me, ask questions.

Yeah, right.

After about the first 15-20 minutes of watching people avoid eye contact with me or mumble a quick greeting as they hustled by me, I got wiser.  I did better when I wandered the store meeting people. I also noticed that my book stand got more activity the further away from the display that I moved.

Maybe I intimidate people. Or perhaps my deodorant wasn’t up to snuff that day.

Or maybe it’s just human nature to avoid the sell.karlene_cameron_book_signing_poster_2

Whatever the reason, if you’re doing a book signing and you notice people are avoiding you, don’t be afraid to get up and move around the store. I took several breaks to browse the romance novel section, introducing myself and passing out bookmarks. There’s no right or wrong way to manage your book signing so don’t be afraid to try different techniques to see what works best for you.

It’s all about exposure

I never signed one book at my book signing.

While I walked away with only two books sold, the marketer in me knows the real payout will occur through the increased exposure and marketing around the event. So if this is the case at your book signing, don’t be discouraged. Double down on your marketing efforts and know there will likely be sales that come along as a result of the increased exposure.

What unexpected things did you learn from your first book signing? Drop me a line below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.