As an author, autographing your books is a valuable part of building customer relations. Readers appreciate the personal connection with favorite fiction and nonfiction writers. Even though there's no exact protocol for signing books, you want your greeting and autograph to mean something special to the person who's buying your book. The customer might be planning to give it to a friend or family member as a gift, so your signature makes the book even more noteworthy and appealing. Plus, personal attention is always good for repeat business.
Determine where you plan to sign before you open the book. Opt for the title page or the inside cover, unless the customer specifically asks you to sign in a specific place, according to Authority Publishing. Write large enough so that your signature and greeting stand out on the page.
Use a non-bleed, permanent, acid-free pen or marker in an ink color that easily shows up on the page. Avoid pastel ink colors, such as yellow, pink or peach. Author Mary Robinette Kowal, on her personal website, suggests using an ink color other than black, so that it doesn't blend in with other text on the page or in the book.
Personalize the message by asking customers what they would like you to write. Keep a small notepad available, so patrons can spell out names and specific requests, author Gary Robson says on his website.
If the customer doesn't request a specific message, use a personal greeting you've prepared, such as "All my best," "With warm appreciation," "Best regards" or "Your friend." Choose a short two- or three-word greeting if you have a line of customers waiting for your autograph.
Make sure that your autograph is legible and distinct, and looks different from your legal signature, suggests Kowal. You don't want to risk anyone using your signature for identity theft purposes. Practice signing your autograph at home before you sign any books for patrons, and always sign your first and last name. Allow the ink to dry for a couple of seconds before you close the book.
Date your autograph, especially during the first couple of months after the book is released. Some collectors believe that a book that's signed within the first month of publication makes the book more valuable, according the Robson.
Consider using your first initial and last name if you have a huge amount of books to sign and limited time to do so.
Avoid being too personal or wordy in your greeting. Some customers might try to profit off your kindness or personal remarks by reselling the book at a higher price on a public auction site.