Book Of Days
Jim Rubart

James L. Rubart is the best-selling, and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, helping authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, water skis and take photos. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at Or e-mail him at:

Quantum Marketing

How to―and How Not to―Sign Books

In September of ’07, I stood in line at a writer’s conference, waiting to get a book signed by an author who had become a friend. We’d talked in depth at a two conferences and had exchanged a number of e-mails.

I handed him a copy of his novel, we chatted for a few minutes, he signed my book, and I moved on.

When I opened the book to see what he’d written to me I was surprised. And disappointed.

It said, “Jim, God bless,” and then his signature.

Yeah, I expected a little more than what felt like a cliché.

I felt as though we’d developed enough of a relationship that he would have written something more personal in nature―something as simple as “Great to know you” or “Thanks for your friendship and support.”

On the Other Side

Now that I’m on the other side, I realize that when signing several books at one time it’s tempting to write something generic and short to prevent the dreaded author disease, hand-cramp-itis, from attacking. But I think taking the time to write a personal note is worth the extra effort.

It can make the difference between readers telling others about you and keeping the lock on their lips. Word of mouth will always be the most powerful form of promotion, and you want readers to go away feeling special, feeling unique, feeling worth it.

Have I ever disappointed a reader by what I’ve written—or haven’t written―when signing one of my novels? Probably. But I try not to.

Our notes don’t have to be long, but they do need to have variety. I never want two people at a signing to compare books and say, “He wrote the exact same thing to me.” The only thing I write in almost all books is “Gal. 5:1” and “Much freedom,” because freedom is the overarching theme in all of my novels.

Another Option

Some authors choose to sign their name and that’s it. Does that work? I suppose. No chance of disappointing readers with what they write, since they don’t write anything. But I still think readers are disillusioned with this approach. Many times the

readers want an autograph because the author inspired them, or challenged them, drew them closer to Jesus—and because of that, they feel like they know the author personally. I believe a signature only takes a little air out of their balloons.

Plan Ahead

Some of us can come up with pithy comments off the top of our heads. Others, not so much. So plan ahead with three or four comments for readers you don’t know. Don’t use trite comments like “God bless.”

For those you do know, take a few seconds and make it personal. They’ll love you for it.

As always, if you have a marketing question, fire it my way and I’ll see if I can come up with a reasonable response.

God bless all of you,


(P.S. Yes, of course that sign-off was supposed to amuse. Whadda ya think I am!)


The Chair