How to Host a Virtual Book Signing

Although COVID restrictions are easing, doing a virtual book signing is a great way to increase the number of books you sell, but also reach several people from around the world who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend an in-person event.

In this article, I'm going to list some points to help you plan, prepare and host a virtual book signing. Keep reading to find out more!

How to use hashtags correctly

Work out the basics

Virtual signings are just that, a virtual signing. They're perfect for a COVID world as it involves little to no in-person contact. First, you need to decide how you're going to do your virtual signing. It doesn't have to be live-streamed, although it would be better if it was as you can better interact with your audience. If you are going to live stream, you could do it on one particular channel, such as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube, or use multiple phones and devices to live stream across them all.

Once you've figured out how you're going to do your signing, you then need to pick a date. Make sure it's far enough in advance so that you can effectively plan the event. Many typically do this on the release day of their book. You also need to pick a time that reaches the most people and be mindful of different time zones. With all this information sorted, we can start to plan what to do at the event!

Offer an incentive

Offering an incentive is a brilliant way to entice someone to join your event and this is something widely used by traditional authors. You could offer a print item, like a signed bookplate or bookmark for example, and send these to all those who sign up for the event (I'll get on to creating RSVPs later) or you could offer a digital-only incentive, such as a phone wallpaper that is the cover of your book, or a set of character drawings!

Remember that, if you're going to use print items as an incentive, you need to collect addresses when asking those to sign up for your event. This could be done through the use of an event site or by asking those to send you their addresses via social media. If it's a digital item, when they sign up for the event, you need to make sure you're collecting their email addresses.

Collect RSVPs using Eventbrite

Eventbrite is an online event registry system where you can register your event and collect RSVPs, almost like a digital ticket to your event. Even if you wanted to live stream on Instagram, I'd still suggest utilising RSVPs using Eventbrite in order to collect the addresses or emails for the incentives above. This also spurs people to actually attend your event, meaning that you'll have more eyes on you when you do your virtual signing which, as that is the purpose of doing one, is what you want!

Creating an account on Eventbrite is easy. All you have to do is head over to Eventbrite and create an account. You'll then be prompted to set up an event. You can add a description, images, itinerary and change how your tickets look.

Create promotional graphics

Now that you have your basic information figured out, you need to let people know that your virtual book signing is happening. To do this, use sites like Canva to create promotional graphics and share on your social media posts and stories, your website, email list and encourage others to spread the word as much as possible.

Read from your book

During the event, you could read the first few pages or the first chapter of your book. This builds excitement for the reader and provides an extra incentive to join you for your book signing. It also helps pass the time during the start of your event, to allow more people enough time to open their laptops and watch. Make sure you decide how much you're going to read before your book signing and if you're likely to get nervous, practise beforehand.

Sign your books

Ask all those watching to comment if they want you to write something specific in their book, you could then sign theirs during the event. This also ensures that you're interacting with your audience which is ideal when doing any type of video. Of course, if you're not doing a live stream you may not be able to do this. Make sure that you're regularly talking to the audience and enticing them to comment to ensure that your live stream goes well and is enjoyable for both you and the audience.

Do a Q&A at the end of your video

A great way of interacting with your audience is by doing a Q&A at the end of your video or stream. You could answer any questions in the comments about your book, which will ultimately build excitement and encourage more people to buy. You can still do this if you aren't doing a live stream, just ask your followers to add their questions on a social media post of yours and answer them in the video.

Repost your virtual book signing and send the books

After the signing has finished, repost the video to all your social media accounts or link to the video in your bio's if you used YouTube. This ensures that a higher number of people can see your video which, once they see how many people you've signed books for and engaged with your video, might encourage them to purchase a book of their own.

Finally, now that you've signed the books you need to send them. You'll need to purchase boxes for shipping, and even could create a 'thank you' card to fit inside. If you're using print items as an incentive, you could send these when you ship the books.