- Books are typically signed on the title page.
- Make sure you have a good (acid-free, if possible) permanent pen. And carry a spare.
- Have a few simple phrases (Best regards, Warm wishes...) that you can alternate between and add without thinking.
- That said, consider personalizing the message in some way. Ex: Enjoyed meeting you at the [name of event].
- And make sure to ask whom to sign the book to—it might be a gift!
- Either way, be sure to ask the person for the spelling of the name. Common-sounding names often have unique spellings.
- Make sure your name is legible and, if it's your real name, that your author signature is different than the way you sign your checks. Identity theft and all that...
- Be prepared even when you're not at a signing. You could get asked at any time and any place.
Clever tips and special situations...
- Date all your autographs during the first month post release. This makes them far more valuable. (Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until after I'd mailed signed books to my extended family members.)
- Signing in a different color than black makes the autograph easier to spot for collectors.
- If you're autographing a coffee table book, consider signing the front cover, since it will likely be on display.
- If you're signing an anthology, sign on the first page of your story.
- For signing dark or slick/coated items (e.g. things like bookmarks), choose a Sharpie-type marker in a visible, complementary color.
- For the inevitable unprepared fan, carry bookplates (a.k.a. book labels) with you. This way, when someone says, "I wish I'd know you were going to be here. I have your book but I don't have it with me.", you can autograph a sticker and give it to them to place in their book.
Here's one of my autographed bookmarks.
I signed them with a gold Sharpie. The hues in the photo aren't totally true to life, but you get the gist—light on dark, and gold to complement the browns and yellows of the images and font.
Nervous about attending your first formal signing? Author and friend Loni Townsend wrote a very informative post about her experience.
Now, about long-distance relationships...
What about e-book owners and fans who can't meet you in person?
There's an app for that.
No, really. :P
It's called 'Authorgraph.'
Using Authorgrph is simple, and fans don't have to sign up with the site.
All they need to provide is a name and an email address. And all that's required of you is signing up and providing the ASIN for the Kindle version of your book (You must have a Kindle version to add a book).
(Notice I can view the Authorgraph without being signed in.)
You can choose 'Typewriter' or 'Handwritten' font for the message to the fan. I think the typewriter style looks good.
For the signature portion, you can either sign with a mouse or graphic pen, or you can choose Authorgraph's default font, which is the handwritten style. Since my signature with a mouse looked even worse than my regular penmanship, and their handwritten font looked much like my own, I chose that.
If you don't like something, you can edit or reset the form until you do. When you have it like you want it, click send. You'll get the requests in your inbox, and your fans will get your Authorgraph in theirs once you've sign it.
Of course, there's always a chance you'll encounter a stalker.
Loni also wrote a post about signing Authorgraphs using your phone. This would definitely come in handy if you were without your laptop at a signing.
If you want to practice requesting an Authorgraph and see what the experience will be like for your readers, you can use mine. It doesn't matter if you own a copy of Come Back or not. Feel free to try it out.
Sorry this post turned out to be so long.
Hopefully it was worth your time.