29 January 2007

Book signing 101

TO: Those in the know

FROM: One on the cusp

RE: Tips for signing books

Anyone have advice on how to sign books? For friends, and for strangers (and for all of those people in between)?

Enlighten me, please.


Justin Evans said...

You saw what a disaster I am with signing books. I learned the whole cross-out-the-printed-name thing and the date of signing from Dave Lee. The rest is a mystery---one that I fail, time and again.

aka Leonardo Likes Gulls said...

Hi Mary,

Because I see signing as a sort of short letter to a friend or stranger, I probably take it more seriously than others. I think because as a fan of authors, I've been disappointed with what some have written in my books. The ones who wrote unique, personal, or unusual notes in my books, I still remember and can probably quote by heart. So, take that into consideration when taking my advice, I may feel too strongly on the subject.

For me, when signing my books, friends were easy because there was so much (too much) to say. Some I'd thank for their support or friendship, and basically, as I'd write a thank you card or "thinking of you" card, I'd fill their books with good thoughts.

Strangers were always harder as I wanted to write something meaningful as I said above, when I was getting a book signed, it was a big deal, that moment when I flipped open to the title page to see something with my name and a nice note, or just the disappointing signature.

So, I wrote out some favorite quotes that had to with my book and would use those. If we were talking before or after the reading, I'd most likely refer to something we discussed, if I knew they were also a writer, I'd mention that. Anything to make the note more personal and special to them. As I said, I may take this more seriously than others, but to me, esp. with poetry, when someone is buying your book it's because something you said or read connected with them. And as a human and poet, I appreciate that.

Or you could just draw a picture of a cat. ;-)

Hope that helps. it's an exciting time for you. Enjoy it!


Justin Evans said...

People who visit this blog should follow this link then come back and congratulate Mary.


Penultimatina said...

Good golly, y'all! I should be getting copies within a week-ish.

Thanks for the pointers. I am going to practice drawing cats now. ;) Seriously though, thanks for your advice, Kelli. I'm going to have to ask you to sign my copy of your book now.

Oliver de la Paz said...

What Justin said 'bout crossing out the printed name and listing the date. But also, add the venue in your signing.

It's hard to come up with something unique to each book. When I first started signing, I tried to do this for a few years, but after a while, I stopped being as creative.

Archambeau said...

Avoid crayon. And leave something kind of hard to read -- then the owner of the book will go around asking friends to interpret the remark, and it will generate more publicity. Avoid blood.


Archambeau said...

Avoid crayon. And leave something kind of hard to read -- then the owner of the book will go around asking friends to interpret the remark, and it will generate more publicity. Avoid blood.


Penultimatina said...

So none of those blood crayons, eh? Darn.

Hard to read? No problem there! I'll just pretend I'm grading papers.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Glad to listen in on this conversation -- I find it hard to know what to write a lot of the time too.

Can someone tell me *why* they do the cross-out-the-printed-name thing? I see it all the time but have never heard why people do it.


Frank said...

Mary - I can teach you how to draw Garfield. That ought to go over.

Matt - I'm not sure exactly why the crossed out name happens, but I've also witnessed this in professional correspondence. For example, some big shot has his assistant type a letter for him and crosses out the salutation ("Dear Doctor Biddinger") and replaces it with a more informal, personal, handwritten salutation, often just the first name. So "Dear Doctor Biddinger" becomes "Dear Mary" (the italics are meant to represent the first name handwritten).

Does that make sense? It's like the difference between a handwritten holiday card and a typeset generic card.

Take on May

It's the first day of finals week and I already have that loopy off-my-routine feeling. Waiting for things to grade, and when those ...