Monday, February 27, 2012

Those Autographs are Tricky

Now that I've weathered two signing events, I've learned some valuable lessons about how to autograph a book. Wow. It isn't as easy as you think. You'd think signing your name was simple, but it's definitely not. It takes attention, and if you have an assistant, by all means use him or her. Hubby has been promoted to Executive Assistant, and if I see you along the tour this year, you'll find him hanging around, helping me make this book signing thing work well.

Lessons I've learned from book signings:

1.Ask if they even want the book signed. Some people put no stock in signatures and want the book in pristine condition.
2. If they want the book signed, ask if they only want the signature. That's preferred more often than you think.
3. If they want the book dedicated, then ask for a spelling. LINDA may sound simple, but you've ruined a book if the person's name is LYNDA.
4. If they want a message, ask is they have something in mind. Otherwise, you are on your own, but be conservative unless the person is a dear friend or close relative who you know will keep that book forever.
5. Forget the stickers that say "autographed book" unless asked to supply the sticker. Many do not like them.

All the more reason for an assistant if you are signing books for a line of people. I once attended a book signing where the people in line were asked to write down how they wanted the book signed on a slip of paper handed to them. In another case, the assistant went down the line, asked the person how he wanted the book signed, wrote it down for him (so the author could read the handwriting), and handed the paper back to the person to give to the author.

If you struggle with technicalities and mistakes, you lose that positivity. The point is to keep the mood light and enjoy meeting people.Let everybody have a grand time . . . including you.

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Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Good advice. Personally, I'm not interested in autographs. Sometimes I wait in an autograph line and when it's my turn I chat with the authors a bit and ask a few questions. When they ask "Do you have a book for me to sign?" I say, "No thanks, I just wanted to meet you." They're always pleasantly surprised!

Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree with Sean. Most of the time, I just want to chat with the author. So I appreciate the reminder from you, Hope, about asking if they want it signed.

Hope Clark said...

Yep - not everybody wants your signature!

JonathanN said...

Thanks so much for the post. Great read!! Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

Diane said...

What are your thoughts on the marketing value of book signings? As a recently published author and beauty salon owner, the idea of sitting somewhere for an two or three hours does not seem efficient when I can sign books for folks at my salon. Do you find that the book signings do generate sales? How many?

Hope Clark said...

There isn't an immediate value to book signings. The value is how well you network with the store owner, the attendees and the media - for future returns. It's not measurable, of course. You can sign at your salon, but how many readers are also customers? You might consider how to contact readers who don't need their hair and nails done.