I haven’t been counting the autographs. But I can tell you: out of 34 promotional activities scheduled for my month of release, I only have five left. Yes, I have so far done 29 promotional verbs of one kind or another: signed, read, talked, dropped-in, interviewed. I’ve been to bookstores and book club meetings and local TV stations. I have signed a fair number of books. This is what I’ve learned:
1) Don’t sign that first page right inside the cover.
At first that’s exactly where I signed. I wanted anyone picking up the book to SEE that it was signed without having to hunt for it. But, I have learned, a signed front page could have been “tipped in.” That means the author could have signed blank pages that were then bound into the book, instead of holding the finished book in hand while signing.
2) Do sign the page with both the title and author name.
Unless your title/author page has a really pretty picture on it, like mine does. Then, sign the facing page.
3) Everyone will ask if you have a special pen. I wracked my brain trying to imagine what a special “autograph pen” might be like. From those who cared, Sharpies seemed to be preferred, and they do sign nice, if a little thickly.
I haven’t yet been asked to sign anything bizarre, or spell a name in a confounding way. I think my best stories came from signing with Deb Sarah at the Union Station Barnes and Noble in DC.
I’d already done a few events, but this was the first one where I wasn’t doing a presentation to an audience. Instead, we were meant to snag passersby with smiles and chocolate and enticing plot descriptions. We got a few sweet, aspiring writers, who had lots of questions and, they explained, brand new DC jobs and no cash yet with which to buy books. We got one shy, almost obedient woman who was so instantly compliant to our suggestion that she buy our books that we accused the store manager of planting her there to raise our confidence.
My personal fave was the guy who agreed that he liked books, then agreed that he liked mysteries and crime, then agreed that he liked books set in England. I asked if he’d like me to sign one for him.
“Oh no!” he said. “I was just agreeing with everything you said!”
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