Host Your Own Digital Author Signing

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Though I’ve not been to one yet, I’ve heard that Barnes & Noble’s “Digital Author Signing” Series is increasing in popularity. What I surmise about these in-store events is that the author visits a B&N location, attendees bring their Nooks (or perhaps B&N lends a Nook to each visitor as a kind of test drive), and since Nooks can automatically access any Barnes & Noble title for free from inside a physical store location, people can follow along on an eReader as the author reads from their work.

Afterwards, there’s a great opportunity for the store to sell their reading devices and for the author to sell their work. Also, I believe that authors can then “sign” your digital copy by typing and saving a personalized message that is then linked to the eBook on your device.

OK, so maybe that last part is a bit hokey, but the intention is noble (bad pun!)– to bridge the gap between meaningful personal human connections and digital technologies.

But I’m aware not every author who emails B&N will be granted their very own “Digital Author Signing.” The event programmers are probably quite picky and reserve those coveted spots for big-name authors represented by connected agents. So what do you do in lieu of an officially pimped-out Nook party?

Throw your own eReading party!

If you’ve already got the readership (even a small dedicated readership in your own community), no problem! Contact a smaller independent book seller, library, art space, or school and collaborate on an event where your invite your fans and give a reading. Perhaps volunteers could bring some snacks and punch.

Maybe you or the bookstore has brought physical copies of the book, too. But the main hook (especially for local press coverage) is that people should bring their eReaders. Encourage folks to purchase your eBook ahead of time for their preferred device. But if they’re on the fence, make a free ePUB excerpt available on your site. That way, folks can download and read along with no risk except the danger you pose with your cutting prose! If those people like your reading, they’ll buy the whole thing. Also, be ready to do a signing afterwards, both digitally and in ink.

Navigating between the digital and physical book-selling worlds is still a bit clumsy, but so few authors are taking advantage of these opportunities that you could really stand out if you do it well.

– Chris R. at BookBaby

Chris Robley
Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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