You want witty?!? One of the Pressures of Publishing a Book

Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to have finally finished my book and published it on Amazon. Yay!

But there’s something that comes with publishing a book that I’ve found difficult: “I want a signed copy of your book!”

If I could just sign my name and be done with it, that would be great. But these are requests from friends and relatives, some of who were mentioned in the acknowledgements in the book.

“Can I just sign it?” I asked one of them hopefully. There was a pregnant pause, then she said, “I was hoping you’d write a little note with your signature.”

A note?  I wondered what kind of note is appropriate to write, as the author signing their book. I Googled this of course, and what I found wasn’t very helpful. The suggestions were “a stock phrase that you use every time”, “it was nice to meet you at the conference”, and generic “best wishes” types. What I was being asked for was way more personal.

One person suggested something witty. “Witty?” I wailed. “I don’t do witty!” To another I grumbled, “What do I look like, Hallmark?”

I realize that it really isn’t too much to ask, and actually is the appropriate thing to do. But knowing that whatever I write will be in these books forever to be read, re-read, and analyzed, has put me in a bit of a panic. To be honest, it’s more pressure than when I was writing the book. Back then, it was just me and my computer, and I wasn’t sure that what I was writing would ever see the light of day.

I’ve done a handful of them now, and I’m not completely certain that I’m doing it right. I’m worried that what I’ve written isn’t perceived as heartfelt, or witty, or writerly enough. All I can say in my defense is that they’re from the heart.

I’ve thought about that “stock phrase” idea a lot. How handy! But what would I use?

And then it came to me–it’s been staring me in the face the whole time. A quote from my own book! It’s actually a quote from a page in the old autograph/friendship album that my book is about. It was written my someone who also was asked to write something pithy for posterity. Thank you, Frances Clark.

“You ask me to write something brilliant, something bright. Lacking skill to do the same, I will simply write my name.”


Image from Wikimedia Commons:

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