Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Book Signings – What’s a Writer to Say?

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I was signing a book for someone and a friend stood nearby. After the reader left, my friend said, “How do you decide what to write when you sign a book?”

Good question. As I pondered that, several things came to mind.

Tips When Signing a Book
1. Always ask if the person would like the book personalized. As much as we enjoy writing a name in a book for our readers, not all want the book to appear to belong to someone else if they give it away. If you are unsure how to spell the name, ask the reader to spell it for you.

At one of my first book signings years ago, the person at the head of the line stepped up. “Would you like me to put your name in it?” I asked.

A horrified expression covered her face. “Oh, no! Please don’t. Books don’t sell well at yard sales if they are personalized.”

I stifled my own chagrin and simply signed the book.

2. Be truthful in what you write. 

Some authors write something like, “To my favorite reader.”

If you just met the person in line, you don’t even know him or her so you can’t know if he or she is your favorite reader or not. That statement may make the purchaser feel good for a brief time but eventually it will occur to him or her that you probably write that in every signed book.

It is fine to write pleasantries and be encouraging. Instead of an absolute statement that you really can’t verify, think of a positive statement that relates to your book. For example, in my newest book co-authored with Linda Goldfarb, the LINKED Quick Guide to Personalities,I might inscribe, “God bless you as you strengthen links in every relationship.” Or in one of my Love Notesbooks, “May God bless every love note you write.” Look for a connection between your book and your readers and encourage them to apply the principles in your book. If your book is a novel, you can do the same thing by perhaps making a connection to the title.

3. Be brief. When you have a line of people waiting for you to sign your book, use as few words as possible. It is good to think of a few different things before the event so you are ready and don’t have to spend time staring into space for the right words.

4. Sign your name simply. If you have already said “God bless you” there is no need to repeat “Blessings, and your name.” You might say “Sincerely” or just sign your name. Unless you have a personal relationship with the person, don’t create one on the spot.

5. Include a scripture reference. This is, of course, optional. But I like to point people to God’s Word when I sign a book. I am pretty sure few people go home and look up the verse if they don’t know it but by sharing it I have done my part in getting it to them. 

Don’t just pick a random verse but choose something that is meaningful to the message in your book. In the LINKED Quick Guide to PersonalitiesI usually use Romans 12:18. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” That verse is appropriate for the book because the information in the book will help readers accomplish more peace in their relationships through an understanding of the personalities.

6.Be sure to thank the person for coming, for reading your book, and for helping you spread the word.

Book signings are fun and give you the opportunity to interact with your readers. Choose your words carefully and hopefully you will pick up a few new readers along the way as well!

Book Signings – What’s a Writer to Say? @LindaGilden on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Ideas on what to write when signing your book to a reader - @LindaGilden on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to take one subject and create multiple articles from that information. Linda finds great joy (and lots of writing material) in time spend with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children.

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Definitely another "Keeper" Ms. Linda. I'm a long way from ever being asked to sign a book, but am keeping this as a reference to prepare for my first book signing. God's blessings ma'am...

  2. Great wisdom. I hope to be signing books one day soon. :-)

  3. Great advice. For a long time I referenced a verse from Isaiah, writing it as Is. 30:18. It worked fine with Christians, but during a signing with a group that included a lot of non-Christians, a lady looked at it and asked What does is 3018 mean? Pronouncing my abbreviation for Isaiah as "is" the article. I told her what it was and she did a head slap, but I wonder if she was only trying o cover for her not being up on the books of the Bible. I'm not more careful with what I use as a reference and consider the group who is there. LOL

  4. I wish I'd known these tips several weeks ago when I was put on the spot to sign one of my books. I don't even remember what I wrote but it prompted me to be better prepared next time. :)

  5. Good advice and council... thank you for sharing your experiences with many Book Signings...will print and keep it~~~

  6. So glad this was helpful. Many people think writers are never without words. But sometimes when you have to produce a few on the spot, nothing comes to mind. We need to be prepared so that even the few words we quickly scribble in our books are meaningful and bless and encourage our readers.

  7. I've been signing books since 2014 and always struggle at what to say. I get it. Great advice.