One of my Kickstarter rewards is a signed copy of my book. I was so excited when I received my copies of the book, I could hardly wait to start signing and sending them out. As I sat down at my desk, the box of books next to me my pen at the ready, I opened the book and had a mini panic attack. How do I sign these? Should I say something or just put my signature? What page do I sign? What pen do I use? I’ve never signed with this pen name before! Ahhhh!
Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe this whole self-publishing process, and now I have one more thing to add to the list. I honestly thought signing a bunch of books would be the easy part. Side note: I have this thought a lot, thinking something will be easy and then it turns out to be overly complex. As with almost everything else in this process, I took to the internet. I have a few writing groups where I can ask my questions and gain clarity. After scouring these groups and researching the entirety of the internet (that’s what it felt like at least), I came up with a plan.
First of all, I use a pen name (read more here) which means I basically have a completely different persona. My actual signature is pretty horrific, and my handwriting can barely pass for chicken scratch. Now is my chance to right all those wrongs. I get to craft an entirely new, somewhat fancy, signature; I don’t foresee any massive fame where I’ll need to sign 10 million copies or anything, so I can afford to get creative.
I’ve noted several authors like to add a little quote or saying to their signature as well. Back to the internet I go to find some fun, simple quotes. Here are a few I like:
“Follow Your Dreams”
“Every Moment Matters”
“Believe in Yourself”
I decided to go with “Dream Big” for two reasons. One, I’m writing books for middle-grade kids and I think it’s a great inspirational quote. Two, this book is my dream come true and I have always had big dreams. One of my all-time favorite quotes is, “Dream with your eyes wide open,” but that is too long to write 50 times. Keep it short and sweet when book signing is in play.
Now that I have a quote, time to figure out what sort of signature I can create that will be relatively easy to duplicate over the course of my writing career. First, I simply grabbed some paper and signed my name. First off, I seem to have forgotten how to write in cursive. How do you do an “r” and an “a” for that matter; I haven’t used these letters since grade school. I really needed to brush up on this.
I took to Word to see what sort of fonts I could replicate or at least use as a jumping off point. Here are a few I liked:
I printed those fonts out and played around with my own various. I found I have to slow down and concentrate on each letter, otherwise I end up missing one or two letters or adding letters. Here are all my practice signatures as well as practice writing some quotes:
The signature I liked the most turned out to be the most difficult “M” to write, as it wasn’t quite natural for me. However, after a few practice rounds it’s not too shabby. My handwriting is far from “pretty” and this signature would not fall under the “fancy” heading to most people, but you must work with what you have. Here is what my final signature looks like, and I’m sure it will improve over time.
At the moment, the signature is very clean, but I believe, given time, it will become as messy as my everyday signature. After signing a few books, I’ve already messed up a few times by forgetting a letter, usually the “t” or changing the style mid-way through. I know it’s going to take time and practice to sign seamlessly. I’ll most likely have to relearn every time I release a book.
Now, the long task of signing my stack of books. One more thing to cross off my never-ending list of things to do for this book. I’m grateful for the opportunity and glad to share my experience. This has been overwhelming, to say the least, but watching a dream become a reality is an amazing thing.