Tip #1: Hound your contact at the bookstore relentlessly. I ended up having to call twice and e-mail thrice to actually get the event scheduled.
Tip #2: Offer more than just a book signing. If you are not a celebrity or at least a New York Times Bestselling Author, chances are not many random people are going to care about you signing their book. Offer excerpt readings, maybe games, maybe free food, maybe prizes, anything to generate interest in actually attending.
Tip #3: Make sure that you know what space you will have for the event. Miscommunication had us crammed in a back corner with far fewer chairs than needed.
Tip #4: Make sure that they order copies of your book to have for purchase...and make sure that they are ordering the correct book. Despite my numerous e-mails with detailed information, B&N still ended up ordering the wrong book to sell at the launch party (my first novel instead of my second novel). Fortunately, they still sold out. Phew! Thank you attendees!
Tip #5: Don't assume anything!!!! I assumed that the B&N employees would know that I had a book launch party scheduled the day of the event...I was wrong. I assumed that my contact at the store would be present to assist during the event...I was wrong. I assumed that B&N would at least have a sign up advertising my event and directing people to it the day of the event...I was wrong. I assumed that they would have the space set up for me before I arrived...well, you get the idea.
Tip #6: Invite everyone you know and their extended family! There is nothing sadder than a lackluster turn out at one of these events, you feel like a failure, the store feels like they wasted their time, and everyone is just sad. Fortunately I invited and REMINDED just enough to get a fantastic turnout!!! Thank you again to all who attended!!! You don't want to browbeat people into coming...but maybe just guilt them, or better yet, entice them with fabulous prizes. Trust me, I had a very bad feeling in my belly at the start of the event when there were only about five people there, and you do not want to have that feeling.
Tip #7: Record the event if you can. You never know what interesting questions might come up, or exciting things may happen during the event that you may want to save and use for future book promotion. If you can't record the event, at least take lots of pictures, especially if the turn out was good.
Tip #8: Be prepared. Practice your readings, time your readings and other activities, and think about what you're going to say and what you're going to write in people's books so you don't hold up the signing line trying to come up with something witty (totally guilty). Your big goal is to have things go as smoothly and professionally as possible. If you can pull off a professional event, then people might think that you're a professional author.
Tip #9: Stay calm. No matter what snafu's pop up (see Tip #5), don't dwell on them, overcome and move on. Stay positive. No one wants to be around (or help out) crabby people.
Tip #10: HAVE FUN!!! Book promotion should be fun!
Well, I hope that these tips help anyone who is thinking about hosting an event like this. I know that next time I plan one of these suckers, I will definitely refer to this list!