Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Part 1 in a 2-part series on digital book signing. See part 2 here.
Book signings are an age-old tradition, but is it really necessary to extend this custom to ebooks? Today’s ebook signing services and apps not only make digital signatures are possible, they show that digital autographs can be valuable relationship-building tools for authors.
Why sign books?
In the digital age, are book signings necessary? To rare book collectors, a signed book represents an investment, and signed first editions are prized tokens for dedicated readers. But digital authors are finding that signed books are much more than quaint mementos—they’re powerful marketing tools. And for readers, getting an autograph is an effective way to connect with an author whose work is important to them.
Satisfying eager fans
The fans of digital author and game designer Matt Forbeck stoke the fire of their enthusiasm with digital signatures. Forbeck says his readers treat his signed ebooks “as something to remind them of a connection they made.” He signs his works with the MyWrite digital autograph service. “Some of my fans post pictures of the signatures online,” he says, “Others write or tweet to me about what I wrote.” This kind of engagement allows authors and readers to create bonds that are much stronger and more interactive than ever was possible with paper book signatures.
Growing an author’s career
For authors, signatures and short handwritten greetings are ways to thank loyal readers and gain new ones. “Book signing lets authors and readers connect directly,” said Evan Jacobs, creator of Authorgraph, the technology used by E. L. James for her Fifty Shades of Gray series and Daniel Pink for his books about the changing world of work.
In today’s publishing environment, authors must manage their own book marketing. AuthorGraph’s Evan Jacobs observes that writers who use his service are the “type of author who’ve embraced the notion that they have to do a lot of the promotion themselves. They’re taking control of that part of their business.”
Signatures are key building blocks of relationships between authors and readers—valuable for growing a writing career. “The chance to trade a few words with either a new or loyal reader is rare and precious,” said Paul Cooley of MyWrite.
Personal links and valuable data
Just as important as personal ties, digital signatures offer authors and publishers important data about their most ardent fans. Someone who makes the effort to ask for an autograph is a valuable patron. Evan Jacobs observes, “A reader who requests a signature sends a strong signal that’s even higher than a five-star review.” These are the customers whose enthusiasm can help authors but providing valuable word-of-mouth marketing—at no cost to the author or publisher.
Hand-writing-on-tablet image via Shutterstock.