During her lifetime, Jane Austen attempted to hide her identity as the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, etc., writing anonymously as “A Lady.” Her reasons? She reportedly shuddered at the idea of notoriety, plus writing novels for pay wasn’t considered entirely suitable. For the most part, then, she got her wish, keeping her anonymity. But I think it’s a shame in at least one respect, and that is that she never had the thrill of signing her published works for fans.
“You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when I write to them and sign my name ‘Lydia Wickham.’ What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing.” (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 47)
When I knew I would soon have my first book (The Darcys of Pemberley) published, that’s one of the things I really looked forward to – author book signings! I pictured myself sitting behind a table at a bookstore or library with (hopefully) a long line of people wanting to have me autograph their copies of the new book.
Although I knew very well that authors were just regular people (after all, I was now one of them!), there is a certain mystique to it. And “an author’s signature increases the value of books for collectors,” says Wikipedia. Whether that applies to my books, remains to be seen. One enterprising soul is putting the theory to the test, I noticed, listing a used but author-signed copy of TDOP on Amazon as a “collector’s edition” for more than twice the price of a new one!
Anyway, I worked on my autograph prior to the release date, filling entire sheets of paper front and back as I practiced to develop an ease and consistency, and to add a little artistic flare to it. So I was ready for the fun to begin when the book came out!
I have done library presentations, book fairs, and personal appearances of other kinds, signing dozens of books and enjoying every minute of it! (I’m sure it’s been more of a thrill for me to meet fans than it has been for them to meet me.) Of course, I won’t have the chance to see most of the people who buy my books. And, ironically, the majority of copies are now purchased in e-book format – very difficult to sign.
To make up for it, I have produced hand-signed peel-and-stick bookplates, which I’m now offering free of charge as a thankyou for purchasing. Just contact me (see contact info) and tell me how many you’d like. Put them in your paperbacks or wherever you like. Who knows? Someday they may be worth a pretty penny! 😀