It Takes a Village to Publish a Book

I’m a huge believer in we learn best from each other.  And the Ladies in Red have proven that adage true, time after time. Sometimes we argue, sometimes we misunderstand, but like most workplaces, we learn to smooth over the rough patches and become stronger, because we’ve talked it out.

So with that in mind, I thought we’d talk about author signings today. I’m hoping to glean a lot of great ideas from your comments.

I’m doing my first author signing this month (if you don’t count the Chicken Soup books I signed at the cancer fundraiser. That’s me at the Horizon of Hope Breast Cancer Fundraiser Dinner.  And I love the way that dress feels, even if it does make me look pregnant.  Now that would be a modern miracle.)

I bought books for the signing.  This sounds easy.  Normally a bookseller who’s also a chapter member handles this step.  But due to health issues, she hasn’t been able to attend meetings. So my credit card and I took a leap of faith and invested in my career.

The cool thing about picking up the books, I got to see The Bull Rider’s Brother displayed in a bookstore. When the bookseller ordered my books, she also ordered a few for her store.  

I bought a signing pen.  Authors go crazy on signing pens. I think it’s our addiction to office supply stores.  My friend signs with free hotel pens she gets at her favorite sleep over stop. My weapon of choice?  A purple sharpie.

I’m also bringing postcards I had made up with The Bull Rider’s Brother’s cover and a blurb on the back as well as a teaser for book 2 and a paranormal that I’m releasing in November.  During one of the group face book conversations, someone mentioned stapling candy to the post card to make sure they go to a new home.  So now I’m adding buy candy to my lists of must do’s before the signing.

And bring my camera.  I forgot the camera when I picked up the books and missed a chance to see The Bull Rider’s Brother in the wild. I’ll make sure I ask a friend to snap pictures before I start and give her control of the camera.

I don’t think I need crowd control like at the signing I went to earlier this month.  The library staff asked if we wanted it personalized, how to spell our name, and slid a post-it with that information in the book.  Then a second helper opened the book to the signing page and put the stickie on the other side so the author could still talk without taking time just to get the details.


So what am I missing?  What do you like to see at an author’s signing?  What brings you over to the table to find out what’s happening?  Or do you run by signing tables, trying not to make eye contact?

Lynn Cahoon



  1. I’m so excited for you, Lynn. Congratulations and enjoy! You deserve it!
    -R.T. Wolfe
    Black Creek Burning (Crimson Romance, September 2012)

    • Thanks RT – I’ve learned so much in the last six months – publishing 101. LOL

  2. I use a gold sharpie for signing my books. It sparkles! I’m not a big fan of book signings. For one, I’m too antsy to sit and wait for someone to come to my table, and for another, I’m not good at one-on-one promotion. I’d much rather talk with a group about my writing process or lead a book club, and then, if folks want to buy my book, voila! My books are at Malaprop’s Bookstore in downtown Asheville, and one of the neat things the store does is to put stickers on the book that read, “Local Author” and “Signed Copy.” Asheville is a tourist town, and visitors seem to like to pick up books by local authors. I have to replenish the supply every month or so.

    Fun post, Lynn. It’s great having you in the Crimson sorority!

    • I love your ‘tourist’ angle. What a great idea.

  3. My “book signings” are pretty much “book talks.” I talk a little bit about how I came to write the book (since I write in different genres & may get an idea for one book while writing something completely different). And for signing? A pink pen. Doesn’t matter if it writes blue ink – it’s the principle of the thing.

    • Hi Linda – I’m thinking about ways to get on to the ‘promo’ list. I’ve been invited a few places but always looking for more.

  4. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever have a book signing. But I envy those who do. My fear is that I’ll be the only person sitting there! LOL Lynn, let us know how things go and fyi — I LOVE the signing pen you chose. Colorful, practical and it definitely makes a statement!!!

    • Terri – I read somewhere that you shouldn’t sit, you should stand. I think it’s more active and it worked much better when I handed out postcards at the cancer fundraiser. Did I sell any books? Hard to say.

  5. Lynn, Great advice! At a recent book signing at an Arts Fest, I also had candy on my table…Hershey kisses of course…to draw people over. I had postcards made up with the cover of Love’s Destiny on the front, a blurb, ordering info and my contact info and a picture on the back. I did not sit down much, instead I greeted people as they went by and pulled them in with questions and comments. While I did not sell many books, most of my postcards went, and many said they would order an ebook. Great post!

    • I think getting your name out there is important. And you’re doing exactly what I heard you should. I think every book we sell is a victory. 🙂

  6. Thanks for posting this, Lynn! I’ve been thinking about book signings ever since we found out our print books were becoming available. Thanks for the tips! And I totally never made the connection of my addiction to for supplies to being a writer! Lol! How funny!

    • Amanda – I LOVE school supply shopping. Even though I don’t have a kid at home. Thank God we have a school supply giveaway at work for the community. I get my fix then. 🙂

  7. Great advice Lynn!! And thanks for the candy idea, love that! Good luck and lots of sales!!!

    • Thanks Heather – I like having everything together. I’ve boxed up my books and all my supplies (except the candy – my dogs would find that.) So I’m ready. 🙂 Have books, will travel.

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