5 Tips for Preparing the Perfect Book Signing

Posted by Jocelyn on September 18th, 2017


Imbedded in the dream of being an author is the vision of attending book signings. Whether you are hopeful for a line around the block or just a chance to have your family, friends, and mentors gather in one room to listen to your journey, it is both a rewarding and humbling experience. For some authors a signing turns into a great way to connect with readers, hear their questions and build a fan base, for others it can be a crush to the ego when the only people in attendance are the store owner and a few random shoppers. First off, don’t be discouraged. I once attended a book signing in downtown Boston for an extremely successful, New York Times Bestselling author and there were about 4 people in attendance, one of them being a man who simply wanted to sit down and take a nap. But the author did something wonderful, she spoke to us as if we were her friends, she was funny, told great stories and had all four of us (the man eventually woke up) laughing and eager to buy her books. By taking the time to connect with us, she built lifelong fans. That being said, book signings are not easy endeavors. They require tenacity and a thick skin. Here are a few tips for preparing your book signings:

1) Plan

Where do you want to sign? Is there a local, independent bookstore in your home town? Do you have a busy Barnes & Noble nearby? Are you planning on traveling to visit friends or for business and have extra time on your hands? Map out a plan for where you would like to set-up some signings. Keep in mind that all of these are not going to come to fruition. It can be very difficult and time-consuming to get a bookstore to approve a signing because it is not as simple as just arriving with a pen in hand. The store has to work within its own calendar of events, it has to promote the event and determine how many books will be needed. They are also going to want to know if the book is available through standard distribution channels and whether or not unsold books can be returned.

2) Pitch 

Reach out to the media that is based near your signing location. Find the local papers, magazines and radio stations that cater to that particular area and let them know (well in advance) that you will be making an appearance. You are not necessarily inviting them to come to your event (if they do, super!) but it is a way of letting them know that you will be in the neighborhood on a specific date and there is a local “newsworthy” angle that may be of interest to them. Reach out to the media outlets in the closest major city, as well. Most newspapers (small and large) have an events section. At the very least, you can get your signing or appearance mentioned in their calendar section. Talk to the special events coordinator at the bookstore where you will be signing. Most likely they reach out to the local media on behalf of the bookstore, but it’s always good to coordinate and get a feeling for what kind of outreach they will do.

3) Prepare

What are you going to do once you get to your signing? Will you be doing a reading? A question and answer? A small speech about the writing process or your journey to becoming a published author? You don’t have to have everything scripted but it is a good idea to have a general idea of what you would like to do and say once you get to your event. It is also smart to get there early. It will give you a good feel for the venue and prevent any chance of being late to your own signing. You don’t want to leave your fans waiting.

4) Polite

Send a thank you card. Call the bookseller after the event to thank them for hosting or even send a small gift basket. These are all nice ways to endear yourself to a local bookseller, someone who most certainly could have a hand in helping to build your audience.

5) Publicize 

Take pictures at your event and share them on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Write a blog post about your event. Show future venues and media outlets that you are comfortable with public events so that they will keep you in mind. It will also show your readers and fans that you are a real live person and not just a name on a book. You could also have a friend take some video of you speaking or reading and put that on your website.

Book tours are not for everyone but if it is something that you have dreamed of doing or something that your publisher suggests you do, then these are just a few ways to make sure you cover all of your bases and do it right. There is no way to guarantee that an author event goes smoothly and there is no such thing as a “perfect” book signing but being prepared is a good way to banish some of those jitters and get you and your book out into the world.

Around the Web

Posted by Jocelyn on July 27th, 2017

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Jamie Otis explores her past and her journey to peace for She Knows, talks to Kathie Lee and Hoda on Today, and shares details on WIFEY 101 with Wetpaint, Inquisitr, and Radar Online.

The Knot ran two pieces on Jamie Otis and WIFEY 101.

Author Janet Kole contributed an essay to OmniMystery Magazine about making the transition from law to writing.


David Daniel wrote an emotional piece for the Jewish Book Council and was reviewed by Amos Lassen.



10 Reasons to Write That Book!

Posted by Jocelyn on January 21st, 2017


There are hundreds of reasons to write a book. There are reasons that exist solely in your heart and those that are universal. Below I am giving you 10 (Simple) Reasons to Write That Book because it’s a new year and resolutions are already being ignored. Don’t let this resolution slip between the cracks. I’m hoping to spark a fire in you to sit down, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write that book! I’m a book publicist so I see thousands of writers anxiously pursuing their dream and whether they succeed or fail in garnering the attention they want, they are always proud of the book that they can hold in their hands, a tangible example of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

  1. You’ve always wanted to write a book. Let’s face it, most people have some desire to write a book. Whether you want to write a non-fiction book about Butter Sculptors or the Next Great American Novel, the desire is there and there is no amount of journal writing that is going to take the place of completing an actual book that people can buy and read.
  2. You become an expert. Whatever you write about, whatever subject or topic you explore, the amount of time it takes to write a book and the amount of research that goes into it builds your credibility and expertise. Even novel writing can make you an expert on any number of topics. Writing about divorce will make you an expert on divorce. Writing about wedding planning, elephant sanctuaries, murder. All of these topics will require research. They will require that you dive head first into these worlds to make them as real as possible.
  3. Be of service. Maybe you want to write a memoir about suffering a miscarriage. How many women will be thankful that you had the bravery to tackle such an emotional and difficult topic?
  4. Inspiring and life-changing. Writing a book awakens curiosity and allows you to see the world in a new and different way.
  5. Set goals and achieve them. Don’t we all want to check things off our bucket lists? According to writer Joseph Epstein, “81 percent of Americans have a book in them.”
  6. Helps clarify your thoughts. “When you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences and complete paragraphs, it forces a deeper clarity of thinking.” -Jeff Bezos. {via Fast Company}
  7. Helps launch a business. There is no better way of diseminating your ideas than with a book. A book helps other people get a clearer view of your vision. Going on talk shows to discuss your book can help more people find you and therefore increase your productivity and help grow your business.
  8. Introduces you to new people and new ideas. The publishing and writing world is not that big. Writers bond easily with one another because they know the difficult road they have all picked to travel down. It can be a lonely career, that’s why so many writers start writing groups, message boards and meet-ups.
  9. Brings confidence. Just knowing that you can do something that so many people only talk about doing is sure to ignite a fire in you.
  10. “Writing a book is a tremendous experience. It pays off intellectually. It clarifies your thinking. It builds credibility. It is a living engine of marketing and idea spreading, working every day to deliver your message with authority. You should write one.” {via Seth Godin}

5 Steps to a Great Press Release

Posted by Jocelyn on January 14th, 2015

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There are many approaches that you can take when drafting a press release for your book. One of the most important things you can do is make sure your press release provides all of the vital information so that you don’t leave an editor with any unanswered questions. Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you get the best possible press release crafted for you and your book.

  1. Headline. Be attention grabbing but not sensational. Give the most important aspect of the book so that editors know what will draw the reader in and why people will be talking about your book. Why do people need to read your book? How is your book applicable to a particular audience? What makes it “newsworthy”?
  2. Body. Don’t use BIG words. A recent study found big words to be a waste of time and not successful in proving your intelligence to readers. What do you want to say? If you were sitting down with an editor or producer, what would you want them to know about your book? Why is it newsworthy? Why is it readable? Think like a journalist. Give them the story right there in the body of the press release. Provide a quote from the author (you). Provide a quote from an expert if it supports your material. Give statistics, research studies, facts and figures that help make your story more interesting.
  3. 5 W’s and an H. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Enough said.
  4. Keep it clean. Be precise, straightforward, and to the point. Don’t fill up your press release just to take up space. This isn’t your 6th grade book report with a required word count. Don’t use wacky colors and fonts. Make it as print ready as possible because you will find that editors pressed for time may take your press release and run with it, exactly how it stands.
  5. Vital Stats. Provide any extra information on how to find you online {i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Website, Instagram, LinkedIn}.

There are a lot of rules for drafting the perfect press release. Once you learn, understand, and incorporate them, you can break them to fit your needs. Maybe your book is about bringing color and sparkle into your life, then adding funky colors and fonts represents your work and might be what grabs the attention of an editor? Maybe writing a sensational headline will set you apart? Maybe you don’t want to answer all of the W & H questions because you want to leave an element of mystery to correlate with the mysterious subject matter of your book? These are the tried and true rules for writing a press release and you should always make sure that you have one straight/serious/official press release available to send to the media. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a fun/gimmicky press release available, as well. Some of the best coverage we have secured was the result of a more creative approach to gaining the media’s attention.

Julianne Moore Wins Golden Globe for STILL ALICE

Posted by Jocelyn on January 12th, 2015

Last night was a big night for Kelley & Hall client, Lisa Genova. Julianne Moore won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Alice in STILL ALICE.


Here is what Lisa Genova had to say about her self-publishing journey and joining forces with Kelley & Hall:

“In the summer of 2007, I began selling copies of Still Alice from the trunk of my car—usually 2-3 at a time.  Some independent bookstores would carry it, others wouldn’t.  None of the major chains like Barnes & Noble would touch it.  And since Still Alice was not going to be carried in physical bookstores outside my local area, it was crucial to have it available for purchase online. 

I created a website, www.StillAlice.com. You could buy it at Amazon.com and BN.com. I started making friends at MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Shelfari, AuthorsDen, Flickr, EBlogger, etc. In each of these profiles, I shared my book cover, my bio, an excerpt, praise, reviews, an author Q&A, a video, my blog.  I’ve made the most amazing, influential, and important contacts through these websites. 
Social networking works. I tell authors now–Be everywhere you can be. And be as professional looking as possible everywhere you are. The more you look like a “real” author with a “real” book, the better your chances are of getting some real attention.
By seven months, after I’d started getting some significant feedback and press, I could sense the beginnings of a buzz. Then I read about [Kelley & Hall client] Brunonia Barry who originally self-published The Lace Reader and went on to get a HUGE book deal.  Here was a concrete example of not only success, but HUGE success.  My dream was gaining more confidence.  I then hired Kelley & Hall Book Publicity out of Marblehead, MA to join me in my efforts. In the three months that I worked with Kelley & Hall, STILL ALICE was featured on television and radio. It was reviewed in newspapers, blogs, and at amazon.com. It was chosen for book clubs, as a staff pick at bookstores, and as a Finalist in General Fiction in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. And it won the 2008 Bronte Prize for best love story in North America.
In the eighth month, the miracle happened.  Kelley & Hall got my book into the hands of Beverly Beckham at the Boston Globe.  She read my book and wrote the best review any author, self-published or not, could hope for in the Boston Sunday Globe.  Now you could hear the BUZZ.  As if her column wasn’t a big enough gift, Beverly then introduced me to a local author Julia Fox Garrison, who originally self-published her book, Don’t Leave Me This Way, about surviving a brain hemorrhage and then went on to get a book deal.  Julia then introduced me to her agent.  And her agent became my agent.
Jocelyn Kelley was fantastic in working as a publicist for me when Still Alice was self-published, and her tenacious/smart efforts led directly to press that led me to an agent and then a publisher.  She was completely worth the investment.”