Monday, February 6, 2023

10 Things Every Author Needs to Make a Book Signing Great

by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Last month, my church invited all the authors in the congregation to an “author tables” event in our fellowship area after services. Prior to my new release a few months ago, my previous book released in 2019. Needless to say, I had to brush up on my book signing preparations. If you’re anticipating an event, perhaps this list of essentials will be helpful for your next book signing.

10 Essentials for Your Book Signing

#1: Books

No brainer, right? However, make sure you order them far enough in advance to have the copies arrive well before your event. 

#2: Displays/Presentation

Presentation is another area that requires planning. Are you going to use a banner or posters? Will you design them yourself or pay someone? How will you mount them? What type of assembly will be required?

I designed 11x17 posters and had them printed. A local craft store supplied the easels for easy display, but initially, I had the wrong size easel. Do a practice set-up at home before your event to work out any issues. Also, decide how you will indicate the cost of your books. Options include stickers directly on the books, a flyer, or display cards.

#3: Payment Options

Today’s buyers are increasingly cashless, so you will want to invest in a credit card reader, such as from Square or PayPal. Another cashless option is Venmo, which lets you set up a business account. Included is a free QR code kit. (You just have to request it.). You can then simply display your custom QR code for readers to scan.

Some readers still prefer cash. If you’re offering cash as a payment option, be sure to have change.

#4: Business Cards

Not only do business cards indicate you’re a professional, but they also provide a way for readers to connect with you outside of the event. Plus, they’re great for networking with other authors who might be there.

#5: Giveaways

Everyone likes something free. Bookmarks work well for us authors, but we aren’t limited to them. For my young adult trilogy, I had wristbands printed with the slogan from my books and used a vibrant green color. Several teens stopped by the table just to grab one.

Think about what your audience would most enjoy. When in doubt, candy works.

#6: Pens and Sticky Notes

You need to sign your books, so don’t forget something as basic as pens or markers. Sticky notes can be a real help, too. If you’re addressing the book to someone, ask the reader to spell the name on a sticky note for you to copy.

#7: Transportation/Cart

Carrying boxes of books is a good workout but not ideal if you’re dressed in heels or have to walk a distance from the parking lot to the exhibit area. Plan ahead how you’re going to transport your books and supplies. I used a foldable metal cart, which was a lifesaver. 

#8: Personal Supplies

You’re going to want snacks and beverages for yourself. Pack crackers or a protein bar, mints, and plenty of water. If you travel with a baby like I do, don’t forget the diaper bag. 

#9: Partner/Support Person

If possible, ask someone to do the event with you. When your table is busy, having a second person to answer questions or introduce your books makes sure no visitor gets overlooked. In the lulls, a companion helps pass the time. My support people were my husband and baby boy. I’m convinced my husband sells books better than I do, and my five-month-old draws a crowd simply with his smile. 

#10: Table and Chairs

Unless you love standing for hours, ask if there are available chairs for yourself and your support person. Events usually supply tables, but don’t take them for granted either. Ask ahead if you need to bring a table, chairs, or both. Be sure to include a tablecloth, which adds a polished look to your display and gives you a place to hide boxes and extra books.

I wish you all the best with your events this year! If you’ve done book signings before, what would you add to this list?


Kristen Hogrefe Parnell writes suspenseful fiction from a faith perspective for women and young adults. Her own suspense story involved waiting on God into her thirties to meet her husband, and she desires to keep embracing God’s plan for her life when it’s not what she expects. Kristen’s books have won the Selah Award and the Grace Award, among others, and her romantic suspense novel Take My Hand is now available. An educator at heart, she also teaches English online and enjoys being a podcast guest. Kristen lives in the Tampa, Florida area with her husband and baby boy. Visit her online at

Featured Image: Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash


  1. Great post. And I love the idea of a wristband with the slogan. Great for word of mouth publicity.

  2. You have given me great ideas for my book launch in April. Thanks!

  3. Excellent post! Thank you, Kristen. When I do a book signing in a bookstore, I like to give a free copy of one of my books to the person who set up the book signing for me.

    On another note, I commend you on bringing your little guy along. You gave me an idea. My charming little four-year-old grandson would draw a crowd for sure. :)