Sunday, September 18, 2022

Dos and Don'ts When Signing Books

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 book.
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.

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