A lot of questions go through my brain on a daily basis, and so I keep lots of lists. Things I Think About is one such list. Originally I was going to post several of them all together, but I got too verbose (surprise!), so I’ve decided to break these down into separate posts. This is the fourth.
Are authors judging me based on my book signing behavior?
I’ve already explored the first question: if I bring ARCs to a signing but obviously didn’t BUY any of their books, do they dislike that? So let’s look at other question on this topic: if I just get them to sign it, but not personalize it, do they dislike that?
Here’s the thing. I go to a lot of author events, and the majority of them are hosted by Blue Willow Bookshop (shout out! I love you guys!). Blue Willow has signing lines down to a science. They host hundreds of events every year, including Teen Book Con, so they know what it takes to make things run smoothly.
They always have plenty of helpers nearby, armed with sticky notes and a writing instrument. These helpers make sure each person has their books flapped (dust jacket placed on the page the author will sign, so you can open straight to it), and that they have stickies with their names on them so the author can easily personalize the books. My sister and I go there so often, we know the drill, and we always have our books flapped, prepped, and ready to go by the time we get in the signing line.
I love their expedience — but at the same time, this routine assumes that most people want to get their books personalized. I began putting name stickies in all my books because it just seemed part of the routine. The thing to do. I don’t know if this is how it goes at most events elsewhere, but around here, getting your books personalized is the norm.
But what if I don’t want my signed book to be personalized?
One time I brought a book through a signing line and didn’t want it personalized, so I didn’t have a sticky. Plus, it wasn’t a hardcover, so I couldn’t flap it easily. I actually felt sort of panicked, embarrassed, and guilty — especially when I kind of fumbled with the book as I handed it to the author, and nodded when he asked, “So you just want me to sign it?”
I’ve done it a few times since, and I always feel weird. I wonder: Is the author insulted if I don’t want it personalized? Do they even care? Do they think I didn’t like their book if I don’t want them to write my name in it? Should this even matter to me?
Other bloggers (like Kelly here) have talked about how they never get a book personalized when they go through a signing line, so I know it’s not like I’m the only one. Sometimes I do want it to be personal (because I’m a super fangirl or something?), but I don’t want to feel weird if that’s not my preference with every book.