How do you sign your books?

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MY WIFE AND I SAW THE MOVIE, Chicago, starring Richard Gere when it first arrived in theaters in 2002. We loved it. A memorable line from one of the production numbers involved Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger). As she fantasized about stardom, she sang this line, “Think of those autographs I’ll sign, ‘Good luck to ya., Roxie.” It struck me as trite and insincere. We discussed it several times over the years and often laughed about it.

In 2012, it took on a more personal significance. In the fall of that year, my first novel, The Tourist Killer, was published. It required numerous book signings and attendance at several events such as appearing at book club meetings. I said to my wife, “I need something clever and thought provoking to write in the books when I sign them. Certainly don’t want to be like Roxie Hart and just write, ‘Good luck to ya.’”

 

FCEtier
FCEtier

The Tourist Killer is a professional assassin who takes a vacation before each assignment and thus becomes a tourist — not someone who goes around killing tourists at random on the beach or at the Eiffel Tower. Playing on my fondness for double entendres, my wife quickly came up with, “Be careful where you go on vacation.” Every reader/fan who has a signed copy of my first book has that “warning” as part of the inscription.

Then came my second book, The Presidents Club, which features a cast of characters introduced in the first book along with several new ones. The story involves political manipulators who populate the smoke-filled rooms and pull the strings of elected officials all over the world — a powerful and greedy ilk with hearts of stone and deep pockets. When the trade paperbacks were ordered, we had the same discussion about what to sign and this time, we were stumped.

Readers will discover quickly that Bob Dylan’s lyrics are quoted often in each book, especially by one character. Considering the politically charged nature of many of his songs, I began suggesting lines as they came to mind. One prompted my wife to say, “That’s it!” When I sign copies of The Presidents Club, I include, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Baby boomers will remember a radical organization that took its name from those lyrics and I use them here to remind readers that when it comes to politics, you don’t have to be a consultant to come to the conclusion that 99.99 percent of us are stuck with what the ultra rich want.

Should we attempt to challenge, inspire, or simply please the reader?

I ask my fellow authors, “How do you sign your books?”

Please click the book cover image to read more about FCEtier and his novels.

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  • Hadn’t even thought of it – and, as I get close to publication, it is a question that needs an answer. There is always one more thing that needs doing, even after you write ‘The End’ or ‘To be continued.’

    The probability that I will ever sign books in person is low, but I’ll try to come up with something meaningful in advance, because the ability to be spontaneous is missing. Thanks for the tip.

  • Caleb Pirtle

    I’m like you, Chip. I think the message at a book signing should underscore something about the novel. I’ve had too many authors simply say, “Best Wishes,” and I feel as if they don’t care at all that I purchased one of their books. Make the message relevant, and the book buyer may buy another someday.

  • Darlene Jones

    Tough question. I don’t have a magic answer. I try to make the message significant to the person buying the book – not always possible, but I do my best.

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