Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

This Question is Answered (go to answer)

20,537 Views 11 Replies Last post: Dec 20, 2010 8:35 AM by CHS54 RSS
Level 2 339 posts since
Jan 31, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 16, 2010 11:31 PM

How many copies to bring to a book signing?

I know there have been other threads on book signings, but I have not seen this question asked or answered. I have never done a book signing, and I really don't know how many books I should order to be prepared. My wife will be skeptical at best that I will sell anything, so I am inclined to go small. Then I just thought that perhaps I should bring my laptop, so if I happen to sell out of my pre-purchased copies, I can order on the spot and they will see that their book is on the way. I also thought I could have other things on hand to sign just in case I run out of books, so the people will not go away empty-handed. Does any of this make sense?


Jim Henry

Antiquity Calais: Standing at Armageddon

Level 1 40 posts since
Aug 10, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
1. Feb 17, 2010 12:12 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

You can start off by buying about 10- 25 copies. That should be enough to get you started you could always purchase mor on your labtop.





Level 4 1,303 posts since
Aug 11, 2007
Currently Being Moderated
2. Feb 17, 2010 1:31 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

Ask the venue -- the bookstore owner, for example -- for advice. They probably have a pretty good idea of how many people typically show up and what percentage of them typically buy books. If you are inviting all your family and friends (which you should do!) add into that the same kind of estimate. If you are ordering on the spot online, I am assuming that the signing is not at a bookstore -- if it is, that would be a great faux pas. THEY should be the ones taking the orders and getting their cut.


It's always a good idea, I think, to have some copies in stock. CS can take a week or two to get copies to you and it's better to have a small pile of books on hand than to have to pay premium to rush ship them for a short-fuse event. So, if this is your first signing, you might want to order, say, 25, and not worry if you do not sell them all. They will eventually get sold.


You should bring promotional material with you. There will be people who say they plan on buying the book but "didn't bring a check book." They mean it, or it might just be their way of being polite. If you do take orders on the spot I'd be interested on how many take you up on it. If they do, it would be appropriate to send them signed copies. I really can't imagine people wanting an unknown author to autograph a bookmark, for example -- but they should walk away with something telling them how to buy the book.



Level 5 2,880 posts since
May 5, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
3. Feb 17, 2010 1:39 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

I agree with everything that has been said. Potential readers may feel more reassured if they place an order via the shop at the till. At the end of the day the store owner can then give you one order so that you can combine shipping and the books can be collected at the store. You can offer to drop ship to customers that will cost them or you more (whoever absorbs the shipping).

Level 2 448 posts since
Aug 3, 2007
Currently Being Moderated
4. Feb 17, 2010 6:17 AM in response to: Hetman
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

At least 25 books, but no more than ten should be on the table at a time.  Keep the extra copies below the table and replenish as your books sell.  If you have too large of a stack of books on the table, it will appear you aren't selling anything and people will think the book must not be any good.


Put a bowl of candy on the table.  Seriously.  People will stop and pick up a piece instinctively, and human nature being what it is they will at least stop and say hi or look at the book.  Even if they don't buy, this creates the illusion of interest.  Others in the bookstore see two or three people hanging around your table, they think you must be someone important and THEY come over.


Have a door prize.  You can use a site like to create a t-shirt, mousepad, etc to give away.  Give away raffle tickets (or have the store do it) and give the prize away.  You can even do this a week in advance if the store will cooperate.  For example, if you are giving away a t-shirt, they can display the t-shirt for a week and give a raffle ticket to each customer.  Again, this creates the appearance that you are someone important and will encourage people to come back for the book signing.


Have promotional literature and business cards with your website and book details.

Level 3 510 posts since
Oct 12, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
5. Feb 17, 2010 6:42 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

Our authors, who are children, typically sell between 50 and 100 copies at author events. I'm sure that there's a significant number of  'Aw, isn't she cute' sales, but we normally advise the kids to bring at least 50 copies with them.



KidPub Press

Level 5 12,995 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
Currently Being Moderated
6. Feb 17, 2010 7:28 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

I'm not sure how much this info will help (I write non-fiction business/management books), but my formula is 20 percent of the estimated traffic.  For example, if the venue would normally have 100 customers on that particular day/time, and the combined marketing efforts of the venue and me are expected to draw in another 100 people for the signing, then 20 percent of 200, or 40 books, is what I would bring.  I'd expect to sell about half of them, and would consider selling three-fourths of them to be a real success.  So even if they're selling well, I still have a respectable number to display, plenty in reserve just in case, and some to leave behind on consignment if desired.


If I am speaking at the venue prior to the signing event, I've found that it doesn't really increase the on-the-spot sales all that much, but it does dramatically increase the post-event orders -- so for me, having something to hand out or give away (to listeners/attendees while I'm talking) that includes a special offer or discount for ordering on-line within a limited time frame has been very effective.  On on-line order discount obviously isn't appropriate if the signing is held at a retail location that sells books, but if it's being held somewhere like a library, book club, professional group meeting, conference/seminar, etc. then it is usually okay with the sponsor/organizer, and can be very profitable.


Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

Level 0 64 posts since
Mar 12, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
8. Sep 21, 2010 7:24 PM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

This morning, I was interviewed on the local TV program, Today.  Tonight I had a book signing event at the local library.  5 senior women and 2 librarians attended.  I baked all afternoon for the event (cookbook).  I sold 14 books.  It was widely publicized, but the librarian said they have a hard time getting people to come to the events, unless it's for kids.  It was a good opportunity to try out my new credit card machine.  I'll be at another library on Thursday.  If you want to see my interview, click on the link and scroll to the menu.  Watch part 1 and part 2 of the interview with Karen Burrell.  It was fun.

Level 0 8 posts since
Aug 17, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
9. Oct 14, 2010 7:11 PM in response to: peaceCENTER
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

Your information is great.   It sent the wheels spinning.   Do you offer refreshments ?  Did you take out an ad in the local newspaper ?


I thought that online marketing was the only way, but you have opened a new avenue for me.


Thank You,


gpysybaby    aka   Lois

Level 0 35 posts since
Jan 25, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
10. Oct 20, 2010 4:59 PM in response to: gpysybaby
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?

I'm planning to do a book signing at a widely attended holiday craft fair that attracts the types of readers that my book targets. I plan to take a huge bowl of Christmas candy to attract a group around the table. I also made up a supply of book marks that feature the same picture I used for the front of my book, the back cover story and my website on the other side. That way, even  someone isn't inclined to make a purchase at the fair, they will walk away with the all the information they need to buy later, if they want. The important thing is to make it low pressure, but give them the information to take with them as a reminder. I plan to have 25 books with me.


Another thing I've done is to create consignment agreements and worked with local shops to sell them for me. Lastly, I just issued press releases to several newspapers announcing the publication of LOON COVE and included my new website. They haven't run yet, but I expect it will drive business through my estore.


Check out my new website and make sure your speakers are on.


Good Luck!

Level 0 6 posts since
Sep 23, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
11. Dec 20, 2010 8:35 AM in response to: crashcromwell
Re: How many copies to bring to a book signing?


First thing about book signings....  Always say to yourself before the signing, "I will have fun no matter what!"  I've had 50 some book signings and have had fun at all of them even when I had no sales.

The most books I have sold at a book signing, so far, has been around forty.  Be optimistic.  Your PR has a lot to do with sales numbers.  Email me and I will send you an article about marketing, no charge, unless you volunteer a few pesos.  ha.  *****



Message was edited by CreateSpace Community Moderator


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...