For unpublished authors, this is the day you dream about. Hundreds of people all queued up, waiting to catch a glimpse of you, their favourite author. But, unless your book hits The New York Times Bestseller list right out of the gate, book signings are usually more intimate affairs.
I write for a small niche market. I have done events for over fifty people and I have also done events where I was fortunate to speak with three people. Book signings are not what they used to be. Publishers have limited dollars to spend on promotion and will use them wisely. If a publisher has a choice of sending "Bestselling Author" on a book promotion tour or of scheduling an event for "First Time Author," where do you think they will get their best return?
That is not to say the publishers ignore you. They are quite proactive in assisting you in your quest to get your book in front of the most people, in your markets. Since this is my third published work, I know what to do. I contact all my area bookstore in advance of the release, let them know I am available for book signings and events, and supply them with a sample copy. You, as the author, must also take the initiative. As with everything today, a guest spot is not going to fall into your lap. And, with the advent of social media, getting your name out is easier than ever.
So, for the unpublished authors out there dreaming of overnight success, remember: writing a book is a difficult process. You pour your heart and soul into it and if you do not do all you can to make the book a success, your publisher may not either. Follow the guidelines they send you for promotion -- they're the experts in publicity and promotion; you are the writer. Make it your best work and then, promote the hell out of it.