Your Basic Book Signing Procedure

Me and Raymond E. Feist!
Me and Raymond E. Feist!

So you’ve never been to a book signing before? Here is your basic book signing procedure that will give you an overview of what to expect and how you should prepare.

The process goes something like this:

Get there early

Depending on the author and location this can be anything from 30 minutes to hours. Use your own judgement. It also depends on how long you don’t mind waiting for. Either way, expect to wait, either by getting there early and waiting at the front, or getting there later and waiting at the back. Rather get their early though and but sure of getting your turn.

Pre-Purchase the book or bring one/some with you

Signings normally occur to promote a newly released book, and depending on your location the book has probably been out for a couple of weeks before the signing. This gives you ample time to buy the book beforehand, but you can always buy it on the day (in fact I prefer to, so the store and author both know I’m supporting them on the day). Just make sure you do it before you get in the queue.

Joining the queue and get your book prepared for signing

Normally the book store will have staff dedicated to the signing, they will keep an eye on the queue and as new people join they will welcome you and write your name on a post it note to stick to the title page. This streamlines the signing process for the author and makes it easier for them to sign the dedication to you. Sometimes they will also hand out sweets and chat to everyone in the queue to keep a good vibe going. They will also keep you updated on the author’s arrival should they be early/later.

Find out the signing etiquette for the day

Each author and store will have their own procedure for the signing. This will include things like how many books you can get signed and if you can take photos.
Some authors will only sign one book, some will sign your entire collection. So best to find out in advance. It’s normally polite to buy the new release from the host store though. If you have a lot of books you want signing, you might only get a few signed before being asked to join the queue again. This keeps it fair for everyone else waiting and keeps things moving along. It really depends on the time available and length of the queue though.
If you are allowed to take photos you should plan ahead. If you are with a friend you could ask them to take it for you, or maybe the store staff will do it for you. But have your camera/phone ready when your turn comes around.

Getting to the front of the queue

Have your book and camera ready! (and if you are anything like me, know what you want to ask or say to the author. Eep!)

Getting your book signed

The time has come! You approach the author and say hello and hand over your book/s.
I’ll be honest and tell you I find this part quite nerve wracking! I normally panic that the author will ask me something about their book and I will freeze up. Though the reality is, they won’t. It’s quite OK for you to say hello and then remain silent. It’s also ok for you to rave like a fangirl and gush about how amazing they are/their book is/the characters, plot and synopsis is. Just remember that there are other people waiting so you should try keep it brief, and always be polite.

And you are done! Enjoy your newly “Signed by Author” book and give it a special place on your bookcase 🙂