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A High Desert Blogger’s Book Signing Blog Series

By High Desert Blogging Contributor James Elstad

This is the first in a series of blogs about book signings. I’ve been to several, but never conducted one. So this isn’t an “How to set up book signings” as much as a journal of how I’m going about planning and implementing my plan.

All the classes I’ve taken about marketing have stressed that in today’s market an author has to do most of the marketing themselves.

When my wife and I were deciding about self-publishing or not, we realized that if we had to do the marketing anyway, why put ourselves through the gauntlet of the traditional publisher?

Then when we considered the plethora of self-publishers we narrowed our options when we realized that we could hire our own editor that we trusted. In the end we chose a self-publishing house that gave us bare-bones package from a self-publisher, and hire someone to help with website design.

Once the manuscript was in the hands of my editor, I started working on marketing. First I hired Mary Scott (a club-member from HDCWC) to work on my website. Then we wrote a podcast, polished my synopsis, and wrote my first press release.

The press release was simpler than I thought. It just announces that I now have a website. Then I went online and found a website ( that lists every newspaper in the fifty states.

Now came the hard part. I had to decide on what part of the country I’m going to concentrate on. My novel’s about a National Guard General who resumes the Civil War in 2016. While I was researching for the book, I found an organization called: The Sons of Confederate Veterans. I’ve interviewed two “Camp Commanders” and a Historian from that organization. When I went back to their website to verify some details, I noticed they have scheduled a “reunion” for 11-14 July 2012 in Murfreesboro, TN. It seemed logical that the first major tour should at least cover that event.

My wife and I decided that if I’m going to spend the money for a plane ticket, I should make it a three week trip and get my money’s worth. The next decision was easy; several years ago I decided that I needed to include details of the General’s hometown and military headquarters.

I literally put a map of the Confederacy on the floor, closed my eyes, and prayed: “Lord, where’s the General’s hometown.” I opened my eyes and my finger was on Rock Hill, South Carolina.

We decided to start the tour at Rock Hill, work our way through North Carolina, Tennessee, and then Virginia. The next step was to send a press release to each newspaper in each state. I made up an Excel spreadsheet and kept track of the contact information for all the newspapers by state.

That’s all for now.

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