May I have your autograph?

No one told me how arduous and exasperating signing autographs could be. If they had, I might have given second thought to writing a novel. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? In the big scheme of things, no.

But last night, as I sat on the couch with “The Andy Griffith Show” humming in the background, it was a big deal. My task was to sign three books—the first I have ever autographed. I had asked my cousin Denise earlier if I could use a name stamp, and she had simply replied. “Nope!” Shucks.

Obviously, my full name won’t do—I’d run out of ink and eventually misspell my last name. (I’ve done that a few times.) I found a helpful article online that said it’s wise to come up with a short and unique author’s name and signature that does not resemble your official signature.

Short is good. Janellwoj is my email and website, but my novel uses my maiden name as well so that may be confusing. JBW? Nope, there’s a JBW British racing car, a watch brand, and a needlework designer. How about JanellBW? Nothing on the internet. We have a winner!

Then came the sticky point: the signature. My handwriting is AWFUL. I write half cursive, half block, and, like snowflakes, all are different—and nowhere near the beauty of snowflakes. The signature flow is halting and uneven. I blame it on weakened hand and finger muscles caused by the “hunt and peck” of fingertip keyboarding. I have a touch screen laptop and phone, so I just lightly tap with my index finger. There’s no quick fix to this problem. I’ll just have to take my time because I can’t erase and start over, or throw it away and get a fresh book.

Also troublesome was a tagline: such as “Best wishes”, “God bless”, “Thanks for taking pity on a new author and buying my book”, etc. It, too should be short, yet I wanted it somewhat meaningful. I scribbled—literally—a few taglines onto paper, crossed most of them out; searched online for ideas, closed the browsers. Then it struck me! My book is about hope. I can integrate that and still keep it brief. So that’s where I stand. If you want to know what I settled on, buy the book and I’ll autograph it for you. Just don’t expect calligraphy.





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