You can have shelves full of books, with even the prettiest special editions or the best hardcovers. You can have all books in a huge series or those books with the cool covers. But every booklover can agree that there’s one thing that makes a book even more special: a certain something from the author. I’m talking about signed books ofcourse.
Now, I don’t own a lot of signed books. For one, the authors I usually read don’t tend to visit my little country a lot. Second, I seem to miss author visits and only find out they were signing once they are long gone. So the few signed books that I own, are prized possessions on my bookshelves. For me, there are a couple of categories concerning books with an autograph. Let me walk you through them with pictures of my signed books.
When you didn’t actually meet the author
Some authors like to sign their books at random, in bookshops or at airports. Neil Gaiman for instance, is known to sign his books while travelling. Check out his Twitter, where he always mentions if he did a rogue signing. This is how I got my first signed Neil Gaiman book: I picked up a copy of Fortunately, the Milk at Waterstones Piccadilly while in London. When I eventually read it, I found out it was signed! Woohoo! What a prize!
My other signed book in this category is one from James Bowen and his cat Bob. I donated money to their crowdfunding (they wanted to open a cat café in London) and in return, I got a signed edition of A Streetcat Named Bob. If you haven’t read this truly heartwarming story yet, you should. It’s beautiful. And look at the fun stamped pawprint by Bob, who also ‘signed’ my book:
When the author has very limited time
I totally get this. Some signings are busy and crowded and I understand that not every author loves book signings. I actually met two authors during a special event for a Dutch bookprize and since time was very limited there, they only got to sign with their autograph (and the lovely Saskia Noort also added my name).
And I went to a book signing by Dutch author Herman Koch at a bookstore, and he also added my name.
When the author makes some time for you
This is where it gets interesting. This is where authors make some smalltalk with you, and you can chat a bit with them. Usually, this happens at conventions or other special events. The authors probably forget you the moment you walk away, but for you, this meeting sticks. I met Sam Maggs at Dutch Comic Con last year. She had the most interesting panel and afterwards, I bought her book Wonder Women. I got to chat with her for just a moment but damn, she’s cool. ‘Nora, stay rad!’ my signed book says.
Before the first (special) screening of Spiderman: Homecoming there were some booths and at one, I bought ‘Mijn vriend Spider-Man’ (My friend Spider-Man) by Dutch author Michael Minneboo. He not only signed it with ‘keep on webbin’ but also drew a cute Spider-Man head for me. Awesome! If you’re Dutch and into Spider-Man, this is a must read for you by the way.
When you actually meet the author for a longer time
This is so cool. And I realise this will only happen only every so often. Most of the time, signed books will fall into one of the previous categories, which is cool. But sometimes, something a little more special happens. My first signed book in this category is by Dutch author Jasper Polane. I actually know him and proofread Lege Steden. I also helped a slight bit with the marketing for his first book. There are now three books out and he has signed them all for me. The fourth (and final) book in his series comes out this year.
And even more special is my meeting with Tad Williams, who is one of the kindest authors I have ever met. I had the privilege to actually interview him, as I was an intern for a national newspaper agency. I had read his epic Otherworld novels at that time, as well as the standalone The War of the Flowers. So you can imagine I was quite nervous. But the interview went very well and afterwards Tad and his lovely wife Deborah Beale even invited me to a diner they were having with other fans that evening. Yes, I had diner with Tad Williams. His signed book is really one of my most prized possessions book-wise, since it also brings back such fond memories.
When you meet your favorite author and he’s awesome
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. I was ever so pleased he was visiting the Netherlands. His visit actually ensued some drama beforehand, which you can read about here. Anyways, I got tickets to see him both days he was visiting. And I’m not easily starstruck, but DAMN. I was so very starstruck the first time I saw him. But both his talks were great, impressive and inspirational. And when it got time to sign my books, he took some time (and he had very little since the lines were crazy long) and not just signed with his name. So, these four books are four of my favourite on my shelves.
I need more signed books
I would love to have a signed book by Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo or Rick Riordan. With the latter, that’s highly improbable since he doesn’t do book signings outside of the US and I don’t have the budget to go there. I would also love to have books signed that I did a review on. I’ll try to keep myself updated more on who is visiting and who is doing book signings. It’s also a fun way to learn more about authors you barely knew before, like with Sam Maggs.
Do you have any signed books? What are your favorites? And what book would you like to have signed someday? Let me know in the comments!