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is author obligated to sign book?

 
pollinator
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If I ask author nice, does it obligate them to sign the book?

If I ask and author don't sigh, is it okay to get angry?

Is asking author sign book favour to me or favour to author?
favour to me - I get sign book
favour to author - author must feel loved because I wan signed.  therefor author must do everything to make me happy?

Sometimes I ask author and they send me signed book without charg more mone
Sometimes I ask and author don't sign book or want more money
 
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Is asking author sign book favour to me or favour to author?



Personally, I've very seldom wanted a book signed.  Only if I know the author and like them as a person, do I ask for a signature.  It's something special for me to treasure and I feel I make it less special if I have a clutter of signatures in books.

But since I'm now an author, I've noticed a lot of requests for signed books from people I don't know.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be flattered or feel put upon.  So I've quietly avoided signing the books and only signed two so far - these are people I know well and they brought the book back to me, in person, with a request to sign.  Since they are in person, they can see that I did my best.

I guess my feeling is that my signature is a big part of myself and how one identifies me in this world.  I'm miserly with my signature as I feel it loses value the more it is shared.  

Then there's dyslexia.  I'll ruin two or more books before I can spell my name correctly.  Worse if I have to put more words.  Without electronic aid, I really cannot spell well.  I don't like having to trash books because I cannot sign easily.  It costs a lot of time and money for me to sign a book so I don't feel like it's a favour to me as an author to expect a signature like it's nothing more difficult than lifting a pen.  
 
gardener
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Not an author, but I've always understood author-signing to be a courtesy.  Authors do it when they want to, for marketing or fan-service.  But it's never to be expected.
 
pollinator
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To me its like saying "If I paid for my grocery shouldn't the cashier say thank you? Aren't I entitled to a thank you. And if I politely ask for a thank shouldn't I be mad if I don't get it.

To me I feel all sorts of entitlement. To me all I paid for was the grocery and the cashier was obviously not being mean to me, they are just swamped. And it would just feel weird if the biggest worry and butthurt in my life is that the cashier didn't say thank you or thzt my neighbor two door down window curtain is yellow, and now I am furious.

Now if I paid for my grocery and I didn't get it or if I didn't get my book, then yes, I would be upset.
 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:

Is asking author sign book favour to me or favour to author?



Personally, I've very seldom wanted a book signed.  Only if I know the author and like them as a person, do I ask for a signature.  It's something special for me to treasure and I feel I make it less special if I have a clutter of signatures in books.

But since I'm now an author, I've noticed a lot of requests for signed books from people I don't know.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be flattered or feel put upon.  So I've quietly avoided signing the books and only signed two so far - these are people I know well and they brought the book back to me, in person, with a request to sign.  Since they are in person, they can see that I did my best.

I guess my feeling is that my signature is a big part of myself and how one identifies me in this world.  I'm miserly with my signature as I feel it loses value the more it is shared.  

Then there's dyslexia.  I'll ruin two or more books before I can spell my name correctly.  Worse if I have to put more words.  Without electronic aid, I really cannot spell well.  I don't like having to trash books because I cannot sign easily.  It costs a lot of time and money for me to sign a book so I don't feel like it's a favour to me as an author to expect a signature like it's nothing more difficult than lifting a pen.  




I have heard it is a thing for authors to have a different signature for signing books, for at least 2 reasons:
1) Speed, it can be a smooth quick barely readable scrawl, as long as it's kind of consistent.
2) Security, splashing the signature that you use for credit cards and cheques around on every signed book is a bit of a risk. I have read an account of an author proving a scam by showing the bank that the fraudulent document had a copy of his book signature on it, different from all previous banking paperwork.


I have a few books among the thousands that happen to be signed, amd it really doesn't carry any weight for me if I do not have a personal connection with the author. The amazing thing is hopefully the work itself, not the fact they wrote their name on it an extra time!

Really I would rather my favorite authors were writing more books than using finite time to sign copies!
 
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I find it funny that we live in a day and age where someone would even ask if the author is obligated to sign their book, and if it's okay to be angry if they don't.
 
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For me, it depends on the situation whether I feel they should sign a book.  

The small town that I live in has a book/author fair every fall and the authors are there selling their books and it's very much the norm for them to sign them for you if you purchase one at the fair.  They almost always offer and I usually take them up on it.  Rarely are the authors someone I have prior familiarity with and when my Mom was alive, this was something we did together.  So it was a bit of a personal souvenir of our time there together.  I wouldn't get angry if one declined but it would be weird, considering the norms of that setting.

Outside of that setting, I definitely don't feel it's an obligation and it would depend on the situation if I would even ask.  I'm very aware of the right of other people to have a personal life.  (I was going to write more about that but just realized it might be a better topic for the Cider Press so I'll post it there.)  IMO, it's similar to asking an actor for an autograph just because you see them somewhere.  These people don't "owe" us anything.  I feel very grateful that they were willing to devote so much of their life energy to creating something that I love and that was a positive impact on my life.  I hope that they finish a series that they start and I feel super sad when they don't (which is why I often don't read those and/or don't start them until the whole series is released) but I understand that too.  It's still their one precious life to use as they see fit.  They don't owe me another book.  They don't owe me an autograph.
 
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I worked in bookstores for 20 years or so, selling new and used books.

Bookstores have what they call “signings” where authors sign books. When an author signs a book, they are adding monetary value to it. They do not “owe” you this, it’s a gift.

You are not entitled to a signature, unless you buy a SIGNED, numbered, limited edition and that’s part of what you pay for. But if you paid the same price as every one else for a $10.99 book, why do you think that entitles you to a signature? Even if you know the author personally, it’s up to them. You’re asking them to essentially give you money, because the book’s resale value will be more with it than without it.

If you are sending a book to an author to get them to sign it, have you asked them if they’re okay with that first? Do you include a prepaid, self-addressed mailer with the book, so they don’t have to go to the post office and buy a mailer, address it, wrap up your book and then stand in line again to mail it to you? Writing takes a lot of time. They can’t write if they’re standing in line at the post office. Do you make sure the author knows you’ll pay the postage, supply the self-addressed mailer, etc.?

Some authors just don’t want to be bothered. That’s their right. Writers who write best sellers have a lot of demands on their time and resources, and their time is valuable. Writers of all kinds, best selling and not, have only so much time in a day like all of us, and if they’re doing a favor for you, they aren’t writing or doing other work.
 
S Bengi
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Please note that authors only get $0.80 to $1.00 out of that $10 book. Which they will then promptly have to pay taxes on, accountants and who knows who else. They really aren't making alot.
 
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When I did the Kickstarter for my goat book, I offered signed copies as one of the rewards thinking it was a way to easily provide something extra special...signing them was actually way more difficult than I thought it would be, it surprised me.

On one side of the fence, someone might think "oh, signing a book is easy", but for the author there might be stress about making a mistake, they might just not want to sign books, or might want to restrict the signed copies to make them more special. I don't think an author is obligated to sign a book just because someone asks them. It sounds like it might be awkward to ask and be told 'no', and it's probably awkward for the author too. Maybe it isn't good etiquette to ask unless it's at a signing event?
 
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