I never really thought about autographing a book. When I sold my first story, the novella, Trust of the Heart, I knew it was never destined for print. I knew this because it was written in the contract – a shorter story like this, and one that is not part of an anthology, will forever remain an e-book.
When I sold Wren’s Fantasy, it was released as an e-book, with the understanding that a paperback copy would become available within a year of e-book print. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t think about autographing this book. The only thing I thought about was staring at it longingly as it sat, enshrined, upon my shelf. An actual book by little ole me! It was too much to absorb, and there was no room for other considerations, like autographing it.
This may seem strange. I mean, throughout middle school, I wrote, ‘Tracy wuz here’ so many times, I covered numerous a notebook. And in early high school, I wrote ‘Tracy loves xxxx’, or ‘Tracy xxxx’ and you can insert current crush’s/boyfriend’s last name. But after becoming published, I never once thought about my author signature. Maybe I was too afraid I would jinx myself.
And what’s funny is that it wasn’t as easy to figure out as one might think. My full name is: Tracy Hewitt Meyer. I introduce myself as ‘Tracy Meyer’, but I write as ‘Tracy Hewitt Meyer’. Ok. Silly stuff. Well, not really.
My actual signature, the one I put at the bottom of a check, or on a permission slip for my kids is ‘Tracy Meyer’, but written in such chicken scrawl, it’s illegible. Literally. It looks like a combination of a ‘T’ and an ‘M’, with nothing in between. I perfected this way back when I was a social worker and all notes were hand-written. I learned to write my notes in meticulous, non-questionable script. By the time I got to my signature? Well, my hand was cramped and thus my signature was the one place I skimped on the readability.
So, when I entered Wren’s Fantasy in a contest that requested authors autograph their submissions, I was faced with the dilemma, ‘How do I sign it?’ Am I ‘Tracy Meyer’ or am I ‘Tracy Hewitt Meyer’?
Will the real ‘Tracy’ please stand up?
Maybe one of these days she will. Maybe one day I’ll land an agent that demands I make up my mind about what my name is.
But for now, I did what every person with a question does: I googled it. I googled, ‘How to autograph a book?’ Seriously, there were responses to my question. And they were good. The one I found most useful told authors to write your name legibly, because someday your book may be worth something and you want people to know it was, well, you.
I had a problem with this, though. My signature is the chicken scrawl. That’s the way I sign everything. That is my identity. But there’s no room for the ‘Hewitt’ in that scratchy, illegible mess. And if ‘Tracy Meyer’ is how I see myself, why did I start writing under my full name? I don’t have the answer to that last question, other than it felt right. But signing my full name doesn’t.
Silly issue, really. I have a book, a paperback hard copy sitting right here beside me. It’s a book that I wrote and edited to distraction, to get it to the point where it was of publishable quality. Then I got it published! Job done?
Nope. I had to figure out how to sign it. When I first entered the books in the contest and I was prepping the four copies to mail, I flew through each one with my typical, written-on-a-check signature and was done with it. Then, luckily, I thought, Hmmm, that may not be right. So, that’s when I did the research and discovered I should write it legibly. So what did I do?
Tracy Hewitt Meyer.
I wrote each letter so it was clear and neat. The name matched the name on the cover of my book.
One wouldn’t think this would be a big issue, and it’s one I’m certainly glad to have. But I still have the pull between names. Who am I? Am I this Tracy or that Tracy?
And don’t even get me started on whether or not to add a phrase, such as ‘Best wishes’, or ‘Enjoy the read’. I don’t think I can handle that dilemma this early in the morning! Having a pen name? I think I’d faint each time I had to sign something.
What does your author signature look like? Is there a story behind it? Do tell!