Author Vending: The Importance of Signage [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

Dang the last four weeks have been rough. Between three back-to-back shows, a week-long vacation, and getting sick (twice now!), it’s been a difficult time lately. However I knew I wanted to get a new post up for my second time participating in the Author Toolbox Blog Hop.

If you want posts from authors dedicated to helping other authors, then be sure to check out this series! Posts go up each month (though November and December get skipped). As an author, I love being able to give back, and having a deadline to keep me motivated!

One of the first decisions I had to make when I started vending as an author was finding where to sell books and where to do signings. Once I had that figured out, I had the difficult decision of figuring out what to bring. That was a lot harder than I expected it to be, but I knew that signage was important.

Signage Can Be Small

It doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as a chalkboard sign, or as elaborate as a self-sending vertical banner. Having signage with you instantly signals to a visitor that an event is going on, and they’re likely going to read it to learn more.

When I had my first author signing event, it lasted two hours at an independent bookstore, and it poured down rain through half of it. I didn’t have a huge turnout, but I did have family and friends that showed up, and that was a big inspiration for me. The only signage I had was a sign we had made out of a dollar store plate and chalkboard paint that my sister drew out for me. It was super cute, but didn’t draw in people like I wanted.

My sister, Kelley, did an amazing job with the chalk art on this! We were prepping for my first signing at Story On The Square!

Larger Signage Gets Attention

Flash forward to our first outdoor festival, where we didn’t know how to have proper airflow with our tent and it was super hot. What brought people in was a giant vertical sign we secured onto the outside of the tent. People saw horror author and were super excited to check it out.

Our first outdoor festival: Geranium Festival! We just got done setting up at dawn. Featuring Kelley in the back!

Fast forward again to the Next Chapter Con a couple weeks back. People walked up to the table and read my author sign behind me. “YA Fantasy and Horror”, they would mumble to themselves. Then they’d look down at me and smile before asking, “Where’s the horror?” I could point them in the direction and let them read the back copy to decide if they were interested, talking about the book as they checked it out.

Got to break out both banners at Next Chapter Con a couple weeks back!

Banners Help Regardless of Genre

It’s important to know how to describe your work, and while at first I was reluctant to have an author banner that would represent both the fantasy and the horror that I write, in the long run it’s been very helpful in drawing in people. I found a way to make my author representation capture both aspects of my work, which I talk more about when I revamped my business cards.

When the banner is posted outside of our tent, folks will stop to read it, talking about the blurbs and the covers. When I walk up and introduce myself as the author, they get so excited!

The banner allows people to stop and talk about your work without you having to be part of the conversation. Let them decide if your work is interesting or not. And let your banner do the talking so you don’t have to do all the work.

When you’re vending as an author, use all the help you can get to portray your words without relying on solely your books. I think of signage as a menu for your books. You want to portray taste and composition before eating the meal itself.

16 thoughts on “Author Vending: The Importance of Signage [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

    • I read her your comment and she was so happy to hear that! For my first vertical banner, I got a generic T-Sign from Amazon. It’s okay, but the back stick that’s supposed to hold it up doesn’t work that great. I highly recommend the retractable signs you can get from Vistaprint though. Those are way more sturdy for the events we’ve been going to, indoor or outdoor, though I would wait until a big sale comes up!

  1. This is so helpful, thank you! I’m already thinking up things to put on a sign . . . guess i better finish the book first, though.:-)

    I hope you don’t catch any more colds. Being sick is no fun.:-(

  2. Congratulations on your book sale! This reminded me of a funny story about an organization I worked for that held a book sale at a library. We could have guessed it, but the library is the worst place to host a book sale lol

    • Thank you! I’ve gotten more practice with them the more I do. Haha yeaaaah I had that experience earlier this year, but I will say it depends on what kind of event it is. We went to a small cosplay convention early this year hosted at a library, and I sold several copies. I think it just depends on the crowd.

  3. I love this! Despite the fact that I’m not ready to pubish yet, I’ve started a huge list of the must-dos and must-haves for when I am ready. Banners are definitely going on the list! Though I do have to say that I love your sister’s chalk-board platter sign. It’s so personal and pretty. Thanks so much for sharing your insight on this.

    • I’ve read her every positive comment about the chalk-board platter, and she’s thrilled every time, so thank you for saying that! Hey, you’ll get to the publishing point eventually! <3 I do the same thing though. I like having as much information as possible so I know what I'm getting into, hence all the research we did first before starting the festivals.

  4. While I won’t be doing any of these events anytime soon, this post was super helpful! I’ll revisit it again once I reach this point in my career. Thank you for sharing!

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