Tips for
author events


Today I am sharing a few of my favorite book buying and book signing table examples, along with tips on how to produce all the author extras you’ll want to offer your readers–such as bookmarks, business cards, buttons and pins and more!

To start, it’s important to note there is a difference between book buying tables and book signing tables.

Book buying tables are for events in which you are going to a local fair to sell your merchandise and promote yourself. Book signing tables are for formal signing events, typically held at bookstores, libraries or formal venues where you are solely signing and selling books. Book signing tables should not be cluttered – they are simple in nature and serve more of a singular purpose than a book buying table.

Let’s get started on how to deck out your book buying table:


At a book buying or book signing event, you may consider a simple giveaway like a bookmark that is free with the purchase of a book. Bookmarks are always a great choice because they are fairly inexpensive and readers never have enough bookmarks.

What to include on the bookmark? A small description of your book, your author website, font and images that match your genre’s brand and tone, you may even want to put a QR code on the back that direct buyers to purchase your book on Amazon or to sign up on your newsletter. If you are a series author, you can have bookmarks for each book in the series with it’s own unique branding on it.

How to create and order them? You can use Next Day Flyers or Vista Print

2.   Pens, Gadgets and Gizmos!

Author R.Sullins put together a great buying table that had bookmarks, pins, stickers, bottle openers, coasters and more on it!

How to get them?

  • Customizable Coasters: from Oriental Trading (approx. $28-$30 for 50 pieces)
  • Retractable Banner from Build a Sign (approx. $100-130)
  • Pens and bottle openers from Amazon (approx. $80 for a set of 100)
  • Stickers: LilyLlama on Etsy or Sticker Mule (Here’s a $10 credit if you use this link: Sticker Mule $10 Credit)

With anything you make for your book buying table, always remember to use your branding colors and offer a way that they can continue to interact with your brand. This may be as simple as including your author website URL, your social media platform(s), or a link to your Amazon book’s sales page. Now in our post-covid world, almost everyone knows what a QR code is. Slap a QR code on some of your products to make it easy for people to get over to your channel.

3.  Bookstands

You’ll notice that many authors have quality bookstands on their tables that help them showcase their books in a visually appealing way. If you don’t have a wide selection of books, you may consider the alternative route which is stacking books to use as a makeshift stand, then placing one book on top so that you can see the full front cover.

If you need bookstands you can check out Amazon, but their options are limited.

For authors with a series, you may consider a tabletop book stand that can showcase multiple books. Or you can use a cardboard floor display that is often seen and used at book fairs.

4.   Table Covers

The most attractive book buying tables typically have table covers on them to help people passing by identify what you do and what you are selling. To purchase table covers, consider using Vista Print.

Your table covers should achieve 3 main things: 1) help people to understand who you are, 2) what genre you write in and 3) what you are selling. Some ways of achieving this in the table cover design is incorporating your book cover(s), your author name and backgrounds that showcase the genre and themes that you write about most often.

For instance, if you write fantasy books, perhaps having a magic-looking background will hint at the genre. If your book is a business book, you’ll want to keep your fonts and graphics to your company brand.

As a reminder, always keep it simple. Too much clutter on your table covers will detract people from coming over because your booth will look confusing. Attract by simplifying and sticking to 1-3 main brand colors at all times.

5.   Other Décor Considerations

Certain genres are served very well by dressing up your buying table with balloons. For instance, children’s book authors and business book authors should consider balloons at their station. Why? Children’s books are typically playful, inviting, and balloons do a good job at matching the tone.

On the other hand, business folks may look a bit too intimidating while sitting at their booth, so adding balloons in this case helps soften the tone and helps the author look more inviting and approachable.

The Most Valuable Asset to Any Table

Can you guess it? It’s YOU! Be sure to look engaged, have a big smile, and perhaps even consider rehearsing some questions or lines that you can use to invite people over to your table.

It’s important to remember that your goal at book buying tables should be to ultimately connect with people and readers alike. Of course it feels good to get a sale, but the more you focus on sales and numbers, the less fun you will be having. There have been many instances where I’ve started conversations with people behind their tables and taken their business card home for later. If they stuck in my mind, I would make a purchase later on. As an author, if you keep your mind focused on sharing your message, connecting with others, you will have a lot more fun, AND I promise you will get more sales.


Now you may have noticed, we’ve primarily covered book buying tables for selling books. When you are at a book signing event, you should have an even simpler table setup. You will want to keep it to the minimum:

  •  Table cover (if you have one)
  • Copies of your books
  • You may need a sign with a QR code directing customers on how to submit payment for a signed copy clearly labeled with your book price
  • Pens with your name/brand on it. OR you can have some stickers. We suggest just choosing one or the other.
  • And you may have a simple one-sheet about you and your mission/or inspiration

You must keep your book signing table clean and simple so that it makes the signing of the book easy and ready for photos. If you have a busy table, it won’t look good for photos.

Now it’s time to get planning and buying for your book buying and book signing needs. Have fun with it and be sure to keep it simple and on-brand!