Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Part 2 in a 2-part series on digital book signing. See part 1 here.
Digital book authors and publishers who are seeking to enrich their relationships with readers find digital signatures an effective way to connect with their most ardent fans. Today, authors have several e-signature options to choose from. Some services allow authors to sign the digital book itself, others offer the e-signature as a separate document, and they’re available in a range of prices and service levels. Below are a few e-signature options, listed alphabetically.
Evan Jacobs was inspired to create his digital signature technology when he brought along his Kindle to an author event at a Seattle bookstore. As the audience lined up for signatures, “I felt awkward,” he said, “I had nothing to sign.” He puzzled over the idea of digital signatures and attended a hackathon sponsored by the makers of the Docusign technology. Soon after, his digital signing software was born. Today on AuthorGraph, Authors can post their titles to the community web site. Fans can browse titles and request signatures, which arrive as separate documents via email. The service is free for authors and readers.
Bloomington, Indiana-based Author House provides services for self-publishing and digital book marketing. Among their many tools is a widget that includes author signatures as part of their PR services. The price for this offering is $999.00 and includes an online event (similar to a webinar) and vouchers for 100 free e-books. The digital signature comes as part of the free e-book voucher, not the e-book itself.
Autography is a digital marketing and software development company that’s created a technology to insert an author’s personalized message and signature into digital media. Garry Martin, Autography’s CMO and Managing Partner says with Autography, “authors can personalize an eBook as easily as they can a physical book.” Autography, allows an author to sign a page that is inserted inside the front cover of an eBook, closely emulating a physical book signing. The autograph page can include custom graphics or even a photograph with the reader if they meet at an event. Autography supports all major ebook formats and works with pictures, event documents, even social media pages. Their pricing is based on an agency model and depends on the size of the engagement.
Paul Cooley, the creator of MyWrite, is an author himself. The service began as a perk for his own fans who contributed to his donation drive to raise funds to host his website Shadow Publications. He discovered that the method he used to create e-signatures for that promotion was tedious and time consuming, but he was hooked on the concept of digital autographs. So he teamed up with Ahmed Khalil, an iOS coder, to create an easy-to-use iPad app. Authors can sign the screen on an iPad at events, then upload the document to the MyWrite server where it becomes a personalized e-book that can be emailed to customers. MyWrite charges authors minimal fees for registration and blocks of signatures.
A signature is a connection to an author
When a book makes an strong impression, readers have an urge to reach out to the author—whether they’ve read the words on a digital screen or a paper page. The desire for a personal link between artist and audience persists in any medium. Garry Martin believes signing provides “extreme value” for authors. Paul Cooley notes that when he offers a digital signature to a fan, “the fact I can personalize their copy and they receive it in seconds always puts a smile on their faces.”
Pen-signature image by Shutterstock. Author signing image provided by Autography.