Friday, October 23, 2015

Writing: Signing Books

One of the things an author has to decide is how to sign books. It's certainly not something for which most writers plan, but it's an important practical matter. In my case, it's complicated a bit by my having two distinct types of books that I autograph: the non-fiction book I wrote after the death of my wife (The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse), and my novels (the most recent of which is Miracle Drug). I don't want to use the line I've come up with for the former--"Blessings"--for the latter. More importantly, I don't want to use the line with which I sign my novels--"Rx: Enjoy"--for the former.

Then there's the question of whether you're going to add a Scripture verse to your signature. For my book on getting past the death of a spouse, I chose the familiar passage from Romans 8:32-33. It's one I read and re-read during the days after Cynthia's death. For my novels, I use Psalm 139:1-5, a passage that includes the very important phrase that God knows the very words that come from my mouth (or my pen) even before I do.

That having been decided, I learned two things quickly. One is that a copy that's signed by the author is treasured more than an unsigned copy by some readers. To emphasize that, I ordered some stickers that I put on the front of signed books. These are available from numerous sources--just Google "signed by author stickers" or "signed book stickers" and check out the various sites.

 The other lesson I learned after my first book signing is that it's best to have a number of books pre-signed. That way, all I have to do is ask, "Do you want this personalized?" Then I can add the name of the person--and always, always, always check the spelling--above what I've already written.

Although I'm not much of one for book-signings per se, I think signed copies--however they're put in the hands of readers--are important. But a bit of forethought helps in the process.

So what about you? Does a signed copy mean more to you? What's your feeling about a Scripture verse to accompany the signature? Any thoughts you'd like to share? Leave a comment. I'd like to know.

Tweet with a single click: "What goes into producing a signed copy of a book?" Click here to tweet.

NOTE: If you're interested in reading some interesting things about me and my latest book, as well as getting a chance to win one of five copies of Miracle Drug, click here.


Sally Shupe said...

Great post! I didn't realize there was so much thought put into signing books. I definitely appreciate a signed book over one that is not. I keep those books separate from my other books as well. I like having a scripture reference with the signature, especially when it is tied to the book or a scripture the author likes. I have heard of some authors signing author stickers as opposed to signing inside the book on the page. What are your thoughts on that? I treasure the signed books and prefer it to be in the book.

I did not know about your nonfiction book. I will check it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Richard Mabry said...

Sally, I've heard of authors signing bookmarks, and others provide signed bookplates that can be placed inside books. I've done both, when asked, but like you I like signatures in the book itself.
I've always used a Scripture verse when signing. Actually, I learned this during my time in baseball--several players signed with their name and uniform number, but a couple also added a Scripture verse below that. They quickly became favorites of mine.
Thanks for your comment.

Sally Shupe said...

I had no idea you played baseball. I had to go google it. I have collected baseball cards for years. Grew up watching the Braves. It's just not the same without Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones. I started watching them around 1987. Eagerly anticipating the World Series this year. I haven't gotten to watch many games this year, so planning to sit down and watch them. I treasure my signed book collection and when it has a scripture included, it makes it more personal.

Patricia Bradley said...

I had read on Charity's blog that you played and coached baseball. :-) And I like the scripture you use. I put
Psalm 37:4, 7 on the books I sign. Four for hope and 7 for patience.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, thanks. One of these days, I'll do a blog post asking for everyone to list in the comments the Scripture with which they either do or will sign their books.