Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Sign, Line and Date

I'm going to Oxford tomorrow to talk to a journalist from the Oxford Times and then to see an old friend, so I’m posting tomorrow’s blog now.

One of the many things I have had to get to grips with since being proto-published is ‘lines’. Not lines as in ‘Hawkins, write out a million times ‘I am an arrogant poser’, lines as in ‘sign, line and date’. When you sign a book, these days, especially a first edition, it’s apparently not enough just to produce some illegibile scrawl of a doctor’s signature which could read ‘budgie seed’ or ‘buy a cincilla’ for all anybody knows, you have to write your name, the date and then a line from the book.

When I was signing copies of Testament at Goldsboro Books on launch night I decided that the whole ‘line’ thing could become rather time-consuming over tens of books, so I followed the Other Half’s advice and used the ‘equation’ logo which one of the students comes up with in Testament for the Fairings team - ‘x4&c/Toby’. I’m sorry, you just have to imagine that ‘Toby’ sits beneath a line, and ‘x4&c’ above, like a fraction, I don’t know how to make that work in the Blogger composition pane. The meaning of the ‘equation’ only becomes clear if you’ve read the book and I note that one bookseller who was at Goldsboro books buying signed and lined editions is making a virtue out of this.

Anyway, the whole issue of lines, my appearance on Facebook and whether Amazon really does only have 3 copies of Testament left were being discussed at supper tonight. (Sorry, the utter novelty of all this hasn’t worn off yet so you’re just going to have to put up with it.) The Bassist, as is his wont, came up with a corker of a suggestion. ‘Why don’t you’ he said, ‘start doing lines which work steadily through the book, a sentence at a time, then you could have a Facebook Group called ‘Which Testament line have you Got?’
Well, ok, it probably wasn’t as coherent as that, but that was the general gist. And if you wanted cult status, what a brilliant idea! In fact, I shouldn’t even be putting this out here as an idea because somebody with a more obviously ‘cult’ book will steal it and it won’t work for me any more. But what if it worked and people really did want to buy the book and get it signed so that they had a place in the sequence?

Scuse me, I’m just off to count the number of sentences in Testament…

5 comments:

David Isaak said...

Someone told me that some folks insist on you inscribing the first line. Which filled me with fear, as my first line ran 61 words.

As it turned out, all booksellers wanted from me was signature and date. But just in case, I'm starting my next book with "Call me Ishmael."

KAREN CLARKE said...

That's a genius idea - I'd give it a whirl if I were you!

I had no idea about the 'lines' situation. A case for keeping them very short perhaps :)

Akasha Savage said...

Tell the Bassist that's an excellent idea. I'm going to want another book now with a 'line' in it!

ThreeMinuteTheologian said...

Did you know, even more nerdishly, that Testament has made an appearance on LibraryThing?

Alis said...

Thanks for that threeminutetheologian! I shall check it out...