By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Several months ago, one of my
long-term author friends rolled his eyes when I asked him to sign my book. He
probably didn't know I noticed his lack of enthusiasm for signing books. He took
my black sharpie and scribbled something and handed it back to me. Weeks later when I
read this book and wrote a review of it, I discovered the print copy I received
was an early release before the book arrived in the bookstores. My friend never
mentioned this detail when he gave me the book. I'm always interested what
authors do to sign their books.
Through the years I've watched
many authors sign their books at events as well as to sign my copy of their
book. I've interviewed more than 150 bestselling authors and to prepare for my
interview, I often read several of their books then bring them with me to my
interview. At the end of the time, I ask them to sign my book. In my office, I
have a section when I've kept a number of these signed books.
In this article, I'm going to
give a series of don'ts and dos related to signing books.
Don't sign the inside of the front cover. It
is not where people expect you sign to a book—even though I've seen a number
of new authors sign on the inside of their front cover.
Don't simply sign your
name. Some people want a generic signture without their name but in most
situations, people want the signature personalized to them. Years ago I sat with
a bestselling author in his living room and interviewed him for about an hour.
At the end of our time, I asked him to sign my book. “Sure,” he said as he
pulled out his pen, opened my book and signed his name (and nothing else) then handed it back to me. I
didn't say anything but was surprised at the little effort he put into signing
my book—not even including my name. After this experience, I decided that if anyone asked me to sign their book, I would put more effort into personalizing it for that reader.
Do sign on the title page for
your book. The tile page is the common place to sign a book. If you have endorsements, this page is located several pages from the
front of your book and right before the copyright page. The page layout often has room for you to personalize it and
sign your name.
Do use a black permanent ink
pen. These pens are the common ones authors use to sign books and present a
bold black line for their writing and your signature.
Do personalize the book.
You are creating a keepsake for this person when you sign their
My Personal Pattern to
Sign a Book
When I sign a book, I turn to the
title page, write a date, then the name of the person (making sure I spell it
right). I don't have standard words I use each time (like some authors do).
Instead I personalize my signature to that individual. Maybe I say something
about nice to meet them at an event or something about why I wrote that
particular book. I understand I'm creating a keepsake for this reader and I'm making it special for them.
Do you have a method of signing
your books? Let me know in the comments below.
Labels: authors, Dos and Don'ts When Signing Books, keepsakes, publishing, signing books, Terry Whalin, The Writing Life