Sometimes the might frightening thing in the world has nothing to do with Halloween, but rather...
DUM Dun DUMMMMMM......
The whole dreaded "Ohhhh mylanta I'm going to a book-signing and what if no one shows up?" thing. I saw an author post on FB the other day that she was going to a signing and was bringing her iPad to play Solitaire on. Just in case.
It's good to have a Plan B ;)
However, there are some other things you can do to have successful author appearances, whether that's at a book-signing or a library or an author event or wherever.
1. Bring chocolate. Seriously, this is good for you (endorphins) and good to draw a crowd. Especially kids, which will then automatically bring pocket-book toting parents. Tried and true method! Plus it just makes you seem giving and friendly and people are more likely to buy a book if you're giving something away. This worked really well when I did my first signing for my YA- ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK- because I had a full fledge cake with the book cover as icing. Was so fun! So have a dish of chocolate or candy (especially right now at the holiday season!)
2. Stand up. Seriously again, standing and engaging with people makes you more approachable than sitting woodenly behind a table/desk and looking all formal and intimidating. Try standing beside your table, leaning against it (check its sturdiness first please). Also, bring people with you who you can talk with and look smiley-friendly and approachable to strangers. People are more likely to come skim read your back cover if they think they can subtly pick it up without being obligated to purchase if they don't like it.
3. Have other freebies/hands out ready. I don't know how many times I've done signings for ADDISON where the person said "Oh, I don't read YA, but my friend does." or "I will definitely pass this bookmark on to this kid in my youth group who was just saying she needed a new read". You really have no idea how far that could reach! :) So have business cards and bookmarks handy.
4. SMILE. Look friendly and like you don't care if someone buys your book or not. Because really, you're there for networking and to bless readers. Talk to them about THEM when they approach. Don't make it all about you or your book. You'll probably get more sales that way by default AND its the Christian thing to do - not to mention it gets your nerves off yourself.
5. Try to do multi-author signings or events when possible. This takes a ton of pressure off and automatically provides #2 about bringing peeps with you. You are less nervous, therefore more approachable, and people who buy one book might just buy yours too! :)
Hope those tips help!