No, I don't mean serve ice cream at your book signing. I mean, if you're going to do a book signing, make it feel like ice cream.
About the comment that publishers don't want to make the effort to set up signings...uhm, yes and no. Here's the deal. Let's say we have 100 authors who all want to do a book signing tour (as in, half a dozen signings each) and they're scattered all over the U.S. If every bookstore we call says yes, that's 600 phone calls we have to make, at about 15-30 minutes each, so we're looking at 150 to 300 hours JUST TALKING TO THE BOOKSTORES!
But of course, they won't all say yes, so we have to call more stores. And then we have to call the author and make sure the dates we sign them up for are still good. And then we have to work out the details to get extra books ordered, offer a generous return policy, send out posters, flyers, reminder calls.
And if averages hold true, we're going to only sell a handful of books at each one.
So that's why publishers aren't super-hyped about setting up book signing tours and why, if you want one, you're going to have to do a lot of work yourself.
The exception to this is if the publisher can showcase a group of authors at the same signing--for example, getting a bookstore to do a book signing day where we have maybe a dozen or more authors show up throughout the day to do the signings. Then it becomes a party--ergo, the a la mode reference.
a la mode