To compete in the current book market, where thousands of (perhaps even a million) books are published each year, you have to find something unique to get your books in front of new readers.

Today we’ve got Janet Shawgo, award winning author of her Look for Me series, talking about her experience with setting up book signings at wine bars—and how the right creative approach can help spread the word.

Setting Up Book Signings

Bookstore managers don’t always return calls or emails, or dates may not be available. But you don’t have to have a book signing at a bookstore. If you can get the okay to set up a table with books, you can have a book signing wherever that may be. (Like a wine bar.)

Engaging Readers

These days, you need to find something unique to get your books to new readers. But getting yourself in front of readers can be frightening. I get it! Making your book signing into an event where you can have more interaction than just signing books helps ease the awkwardness.

Think of what fits with the theme or genre of your book. If you have a cozy mystery about food, find a local restaurant. If you write romance, a little wining and dining might go a long way.

Wine Bar Signings

In April, another Dallas-area author and I are hosting a book signing at a wine bar in the Bishop Arts district. We contacted the owner to ask if we could set up a table and sell our books on a slow weeknight. In return, we purchased a few bottles of wine (white, red, and rose). We’ll hand out tickets to people, which entitles them to a glass on us.

I’ve had huge success with signings at wine bars. At another signing, I sold a good number of books, people enjoyed the glass of wine, and the wine bar had one of its best nights.

How to Make the Most of Your Book Signing

To make sure people get to your book signing, be sure to spread the word! We’re on social media, sharing information about our wine bar book signing, but we’re also telling people at work, as well as family and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask the place who’s hosting you to post on social media about the event, too. Targeted Facebook ads to locals might also help spread the word.

At the signing itself, we have a signup sheet for our newsletters to capture emails, but we’ll also choose two or three people from it for door prizes at the end of the evening.

Be sure that your table is appealing and inviting. Readers love free items, so we have pens, bookmarks, candy, magnets, and key chains. Items that have information about our books on them keep us in readers’ minds.