Put It In Writing

I have mentioned it before but for anyone who doesn’t know (and cares?) – I work at a used book/collectibles store. Pretty interesting gig that has given me an insight into books and their art form. Today I came across yet another book that frustrates the crap out of me, and that is an autographed book.

For us nerdy collectors (and most people collect SOMETHING, even if they don’t admit it. It’s like a built in nesting mechanism.) there is rarely anything better than an autograph (when applicable, I guess). It connects you that piece and to its creator. It bonds you to it. I have a few autographs, and they are fun (was on a list to get a Stephen King autograph just before his accident and while I wasn’t able to get something signed I was sent a signed card from him, which is cool.) but the ones that mean the most are the ones that are personal – either I got it myself, or it is more than a signature. For one second you get to meet the person that inspires you and fuels your imagination.

How awesome is that?

Ah, the awesome factor falls though when the people signing don’t really put anything into it and simply sign their name. I mean, really, that’s it? I can see professional writers or whomever doing it, people who are busy and in demand. It’s gotta be hard to autograph fifty or more things and then to add something to that, well, that’s asking a lot. For me though, if you can, you owe it to your fan or whomever the person is to give them a little more.

Make it mean something.

Now, I don’t mean you write the person a letter, or write a lot of stuff so much as, do more than sign your darn name. Heck, a lot of the autographs you can’t make out anyway, so you need the ‘more’ to make it meaningful. For me, I always try to at least write something funny and draw a small doodle. The person is trusting me to give them a decent (or many decent) story, so the least I can do is thank them with something more than my name.

It’s aggravating though to see all these books roll through here from authors I never heard from and they are all signed ‘thanks, Blah Blahblahblah.’ That’s just lazy. Seriously. Unless you can prove to me that you work with orphaned monkeys or are in a space program, I wanna see a little more effort. Seriously. I see the same shenanigans from comic creators too. It’s like, you’re a freakin’ artist (usually), why not gimme a doodle, or something interesting. Something more than your silly name.

You know what was cool about meeting writer Max Brooks? He is a legit, well regarded writer who is sorta popular, and he was 1. approachable 2. nice as heck 3. happy to sign anything you had and always put a spin on it. How cool is that? He treated you like a valued fan. I appreciate the heck out of that. We need to remember that these fans are who fuel us and allow us to keep writing. We need to remember that we need them.

I know that it’s not always convenient to be witty, or creative, but you know what, even when doing the most mundane of things we need to remember who we are and who we owe what we have to. Yeah, we get where we are on our merits (hopefully) but we stay there because other people believed in us. Fans. Fans who spend their money to help make sure we can do what we do. The least we can do is give them more than just our name. We can give them something to remember.

c

One thought on “Put It In Writing

  1. An interesting point. Though many people just want to meet the author and getting a signiture is simply proof of the experience. The message isn’t what they are waiting for.

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