Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Signature Peace - Joan Lennon
Don't get me wrong - I love book signing. I'm even not too irritated by scruffy-scraps-of-paper-doomed-to-be lost-before-break-time signing. I draw the line at signing flesh or school shirts or books written by other people, but that's just because I'm scared of angry mothers and the prospect of Roald Dahl rising from the dead. But just because I love doing it, doesn't mean I'm completely confident.
There are so many things to not be sure about.
For example, the other day I was signing a sheet of sticky labels at top speed (the labels were to put in the books of kids who'd forgotten to bring in their money but still wanted to buy one, and the speed was because I was up to the wire in terms of catching the train home) and someone leaned over my shoulder and said in a slightly disappointed tone, "Oh. I can read your signature." And it's true. I'm legible. How boring.
Or what about the other things writers write when their signing? "To So-and-So" - well, early on I learned from an experienced author to always have some spare paper and an extra pen for children to write their first names on. You CAN'T just wing it, and it is a law of nature that the child with the most obscurely-spelt name is also the one with the tiny, tiny voice ...
And THEN what? Some words of wisdom? A pertinent - or even impertinent - joke? What about the date - do you put down the date? And don't even get me started on those wretches who can just doodle up a terrific little drawing, right then and there, while being watched with all that adoration ...
Nobody gives lessons in this stuff - until now! I declare that Book Signing 101 is now open for applicants - and tutors!
So, writers among you - will you tell the rest of us? What do YOU write when you sign books?
And readers? What would YOU like to see on the frontispiece of your purchase? Remembering, please, that the author may very well be hoping to catch a train ...
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