One of the rituals of authorhood that has taken me by surprise (and feels really weird) is being asked to sign my readers’ books. I never contemplated that anyone would ever want my signature–except on a check. I suppose then that it was appropriate the other day when I walked into my bank, the same one that I have been going to for years, and was asked by two of the tellers to autograph their copies of Sandy Cove, and also to autograph the back of the Kindle upon which another of the tellers had downloaded the ebook.
Friends, co-workers–even relatives–have asked me to autograph their books, and they are serious! Really? I’m the same person today as I was just yesterday, before the tag “author” was attached to my resume. By my estimation, I have signed thousands of documents and letters and miscellaneous things over the years, all the while trying in vain for my signature to look nice and regal instead of the illegible scribble that it is. But this autograph thing is something different, altogether.
Whomever has requested that I autograph my book, they have responded to my look of bewilderment with stone cold seriousness. “Do it, author,” they seem to command, the expectation being that I should know what it is I am supposed to do. My face turns red, my head begins to pound. What should I say? Sound witty! Be sincere. DON’T mis-spell anything. And no scratch-outs!
Writers’ forums offer thread after thread of how-to’s on how to do book signings, what to write, even what kind of pen to use (for me, a Sharpie). Still, every time I am asked to sign, it comes as a complete shock, and I feel totally unprepared–and undeserving. But maybe I can learn something from my readers, and gain some perspective. So, to Donna and Karen and Judy at the bank, and to all of the others who have requested my signature–thank you for giving me the honor of autographing your books/kindles. And thanks again for reading my book.