You would think signing the damn thing would be easy
I received a shipment of eight books from the publisher. All but one of those books will be mailed to members of the Heuzé family in France.
Since everything about publishing is new to me, I had to research how to sign a book. Most experts and collectors want authors to sign the full title page, though some like the half-title page. Many recipients prefer personalized inscriptions; others prefer just the name, a few like to see the date. Articles included suggestions on what to say, where specifically an author should place their name, which pens to — or not to — use, and a caution to always, always ask how to spell someone’s name.
For the books going to France, I had to translate what I intended to write into French. I practiced writing each inscription, assessing the size and placement of the personalized note. For those of you who know me, the fact I practiced this won’t surprise you; I wanted each inscription to look just so. Needless to say, this process — research, practice, transcribe, practice, revise, practice — took hours, and was more stressful than I expected.
You would think after writing the book, signing the damn thing would be easy!
I set up a signing station on the dining room table, which is near the front door. The table provided ample space to angle the book and to be able to reference the practice sheets. When I finally felt physically and emotionally prepared to sign the first book, I took a deep breath, opened the book to the full title page, and carefully placed the pen to paper. The first line went well: I didn’t misspell anything, my hand wasn’t shaking, the ink was smooth. The second line went okay, too, and I felt like a runner with their eye on the finish line. As I was beginning the third line, the doorbell buzzed and my hand jerked. I barked an obscenity, then felt terrible because our postwoman — who was only about six feet away from me, though on the other side of a wall — was being kind and delivering an oversize package.
So, for all those lists of things to do and not to do, I add this:
Check to see if anyone is about to ring your doorbell before signing the book.