Book Signings

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My book signing is approaching. In fact, next month at the beginning of May, I will be doing two book signings in the Morgan Hill area. Believe it or not, there are some traditions in how to sign a book and ways to make the whole experience eventful and easy on the writer. Here are some simple tips to help you prepare to autograph your books!

1. Decide where to sign.

Sign books on the title page, which is where most books are autographed, though you can also sign the inside cover. In some cases, you may want to sign the front cover, though this is rare and would probably only be appropriate for a coffee table book.

2. Personalize your message.

People want the book inscribed to them personally unless it’s a gift. Ask, “Should I sign this to you?” Use their first name and always ask for the spelling since even common names can have unusual spellings.

If you have time, try to personalize your message in some way: “It was great meeting you.”

3. Choose a signature phrase.

Ideally you should have one to three phrases that you write each time you sign a book so you don’t have to think too hard! Your message can also be memorable and should fit within the space allotted.

Here are some typical phrases:

All my best


In gratitude

To your health

Much appreciation

Warm wishes

Best regards


Your friend

4. Make sure your name is legible.

Consider the fact that someday your book could be a collector’s item! Make your name legible. Sloppiness is unprofessional. You should sign first and last name.

5. Add a date (optional).

Recipients will appreciate it when you date your inscription.

6. Use a good pen.

Never forget to bring a couple of high quality pens that flow. Do yourself a favor and invest in a nice pen. It doesn’t matter if the ink is blue or black, if the barrel is thick or thin, just choose something that you love and that makes you feel like an author! Make sure the ink dries quickly too.

For those of you who autograph the cover or inside cover, a Sharpie will probably be your best choice.

Book Signing

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Meet San Jose author and educator Rick Crawford a.k.a. Ricky Bruce and get a signed copy of Stink Bomb.

Date: May10th

Time: 2pm-5pm



80 East 2nd St.

Morgan Hill, CA 95037

When a group of wolf spiders invades Grub’s home in Riverbank, he and his bug friends send out the call for Stink Bomb, the most fearsome insect superhero known to the world.butterflies flower hill

Stink Bomb is a great read for ages 7-10 year olds.


Book Signings

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SJ_Christian_Assembly (2)I’m doing a book signing in less than a month. Yikes! It’s time to get ready. Here are some tips.

6. If possible, bring an assistant. Your assistant can be a friend or family member, or someone you hire for the event. The assistant can help turn the pages for customers when you’re ready to sign books, hand out bookmarks and freebies, and replenish displays as books and giveaways dwindle. He or she can ask visitors to sign a mailing list for future promotions too.

7. Practice your reading out loud well in advance of the book signing. Record your reading and note areas where changing or your voice requires modification. Practice your reading in a mirror. Become familiar enough with your reading to make eye contact with your audience at your event.

8. Prepare a list of interview questions and give to your bookstore contact. If there is a lull in the reading/signing event, ask her to interject a few questions to stir some audience interest and participation.

9. Prepare a short list of questions to ask your audience. Who among them are writers? Has anyone been published? Nothing evokes interest in participation like talking about oneself!

10. Bring a water. Sip water frequently before and during the reading/signing.

Low Cost Giveaways


I’m doing a book signing in a few weeks at a local private school. The day after that, I’ll be at BookSmart in Morgan Hill. Please come and buy a book. Book signings are exciting for authors, but book buyers may need a little push to purchase your newest novel. Here are some free ways to create buzz and help with book sales.

1. Scan your book cover and use this scan in a variety of ways. Turn the scan into bookmarks or cards.

2. If your publisher will release extra book covers, turn these into giveaways at no cost to you. Cut the front cover, sign it, and laminate.

3. Keep a loaded camera at your table. If someone seems particularly interested in you and your book, ask your assistant to snap a photo of you together. Be sure to get an address and mail a copy of the photo.

4. Do you have a web site, blog, or do you publish a newsletter pertaining to your work? Pass out business cards inviting readers to visit the site or sign up for the newsletter.

5. People love lists. Create a list that pertains to your book and print it on card stock. My book is about insects. I could publish a list of backyard bugs.

6. Host a contest or drawing. Invite guests to put their name in a box and donate a book as a prize or draw a name and give away a prize.

Book Signings

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You’ve achieved the goal of getting your book published. So now what? It’s time to line up some events and do book signings. I have done two events this year already at local schools. These events involved sharing about writing and book signings. It’s great fun, but you need to be prepared. Whether you are at a book store or a school, here are a few tips to help you get started.

Stink Bomb

Stink Bomb

1. Have a conversation with the manager or owner of the bookstore where your signing will take place well in advance of the event. Determine what type of promotion the bookstore will do on your behalf. For my upcoming book signing, I sent book signing flyer or posters. These will be displayed on the window of the bookstore. Advertising in a local paper and online will also help bring in more traffic for the event.

photo2. Bring giveaways to your signing. These items don’t have to be expensive, but should pertain to the book or its theme. People love events where they get something for nothing. A bookmark, pin, or other small item is a reminder of the event. Even if all attendees don’t purchase books, this item may cause them to spread the word about your book at a later date.

3. Bring Stink Bomb flyer current List all published titles and information about where books can be purchased. I have a flyer with a picture of my book, my bio, and contact information.

4. Bring a variety of fine-tipped black markers or ball point pens. Practice what you’ll write. If a reader doesn’t ask for something particular to be inscribed, it’s fun to have something clever to add to your signature when signing your books.

5. Be prepared to talk and share about your book. Pick a chapter or section to read from your book or bring along a few dialogue starters. It’s always more fun when a book signing becomes a dialogue with the audience.


Almost Done!

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Can you believe it! I’m almost done with a middle grade manuscript. Since I wasn’t making any progress on a short book that I was writing, I laid it aside and picked another writing project up, dusted it off, and started the editing process. This is why it’s a good idea to have a few writing projects in the works. At times, most writers will reach a stopping point and need a distraction.

My current book is called Sucked into Cyberspace. It is written for middle grades. The story takes place at a computer technology school in the future. The story is a mystery written from a 6th grader’s point of view. The story is focused around the character’s desire to find his father who has disappeared. At the school, Devon, the main character, confronts a computer virus in the virtual reality game called VOLT for Virtual Laser Tag.

One of the inspirations for the book came from all the new virtual gear about to enter the market like Oculus Rift. I am so pumped to see what Facebook does with this emerging technology.

What do you think virtual reality will look like in the next five years?

Finishing that Writing Project

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Writing fiction or nonfiction is not for the faint hearted. It takes discipline, determination, a lot of time, good ideas, and of course–talent.

Like many writers, I have a hard time finishing writing projects. When I say writing project, you know that statement can be relative. Truth be told, I have a lot of irons in the fire as most writers do. I have a middle grade novella done that is resting, an early reader chapter book finished and waiting on pictures, and many other writing projects surging through my consciousness. But the current project has taken longer to get started than I anticipated. I usually get stuck on one aspect of the story and this manuscript is no exception, but my persistent gene will not let me down. Pushing aside the subtlety, I’m still working on what the character wants. In the draft I’m writing, the main character loves adventures because of a prize at the end.

In the first book called Dot and Scribble Fall into Adventure, the prize was the key to adventure. In the second book, the setting is outer space and more specifically a planet. The adventures will be grand, but what will the prize be? This may seem like a small issue to many, but it’s a central feature of all books whether the goal involves that character changing, solving a mystery, or finding hidden treasure.

How can I crack this code and finish the puzzle? If you sent two characters to a planet to help defeat a monster, what would be the prize? Perhaps, glory. Possibly a magic lamp or a sacred stone. What would enthuse an audience of children? Let me know your thoughts.

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