But it’s still curious when it happens – the idea that your signature adds something to a copy of your book, that it’s a thing people want to see on there. It’s flattering of course, but also a little embarrassing maybe – something which makes you bashful.
The first couple of times you do it the process feels quite weird – I remember feeling that the pen didn’t want to go the right way, as if I’d forgotten how to write. I was being watched doing the writing for one thing and, for another, what I wrote felt like it had some special significance, more than say a shopping list would. But, as with most things, you get used to it with repetition. Especially if you are at a signing event of some kind when you are doing them in quick succession (hopefully!)
The idea that a signature, or autograph, lends something of yourself to an item and gives it more personal value is all over our culture of course. Authors are the least of it – if you are any kind of celebrity you get asked to sign all kinds of stuff all the time. it’s been overtaken in popularity by the camera phone selfie but it’s still up there as a thing.
Recently my day job brought me into contact with an A list celeb and it made me realise how rudimentary my signing technique really is.
I do PR for the UK children’s health charity WellChild and we took a young lad who has won a WellChild Award to the Isle of Wight Festival to meet Pharrell Williams and go on stage with him. Great excitement all round, including from me.
When the young man met Pharrell, who turned out to be a lovely guy with a gentle, thoughtful manner, he asked him to sign his hat. He signed it:
“The present is a gift, enjoy it. Peace, love and happiness, Pharrell.”
He did peace, love and happiness as a peace sign, a heart and a smiley face. He did his name as 4rel.
I thought, wow, that leaves me completely outgunned in the signing stakes. When I’m asked to sign a book I put:
“Best wishes, Chris.”
Well, not any more – next time anyone asks me to sign one of my books they are going to get the full Pharrell. Bar the name of course, which will still just be Chris.
What do you make of book signing? Do you sign yourself or like authors to sign books for you?