Ebook authors need some kind of scrapbook system.

Today I was involved in a Facebook discussion with Vincent Zandri, a thriller author who is exploring the frontiers of epublishing and POD. He started by talking about a book signing scheduled for this evening at a local Barnes & Noble.

But here’s a prediction: I will sell more copies of “Innocent” before lunch even, than I will sell of the trade paper edition of “Remains,” during the B&N signing. I’ll also call the store to make sure they’re set for tonight, and I guarantee the response will be, “What’s your name again?…What book???” 🙂

And sadly, he was right. Due to an error in how they had entered his ISBN number, his books arrived and were then shipped back. The book signing is postponed, and the experience didn’t exactly rekindle Vincent’s love of of paper books.

I’m done with traditional book signings.
From now on I will happily sign the reverse side of your NOOK and KINDLE, which seems to be the trend these days.

One thing this discussion made me wonder was if there is a market for some kind of cute scrapbooking system for author autographs, especially as the number of authors appearing only in ebooks grows. If it exists, let me know. If not, someone needs to get on this. Here’s what my ideal system would have.

  1. A binder that allows you to decorate the cover yourself, or has preprinted pages for various genres (romance, mystery, speculative, horror).
  2. Envelopes that hold postcards, so you can send an author a prepaid postcard to sign/dedicate, and then they drop it in the mail to you.
  3. A scrapbook page that includes slots to hold the postcard. Also a promotional bookmark or biz card, if the author provided one.
  4. A page onto which you can print the book’s cover art. It could also have blanks for where/when you bought the book, who recommended it, how much you enjoyed it, where you’ve recommended it (Goodreads, online booksellers).

Authors, you don’t have to wait for this. Why not have a page on your website that allows fans to print postcard designs with your cover art and photo, so they can print it out and send it in for you to sign and send back? Don’t forget to give them your P.O. address.

And now, here’s a poll.

11 thoughts on “Ebook authors need some kind of scrapbook system.

  1. What a great blog Esri…This is precisely the kind of thing that will be happening from now on…I love the idea of card stock or a signed post card of some kind, or a place on the kindle book for an electronic signature ….:)

  2. AHHH!!! You took the thoughts right out of my head! o.O

    I’m actually chatting with a gal who makes kindle-covers about making book “passports.” (with fun fabrics and whatnot for their covers) Wherein someone could have all their favorite author’s signatures and also those who are only published via ebooks.

    Along with this, I am working on a system for “remote author” signings which will also showcase a digital-author (whose books are only or mostly on ebooks). I might not be able to really sell ebooks, myself, but I can host the authors at my store still. 🙂

  3. I’m not an e-book reader (yet! mostly because I’m so busy writing that I don’t have much time to read books in any form), but if someone wanted my autograph on a card or whatever, I suppose I would give it. There’s something so gratifying about someone presenting a copy of a book they’ve bought and asking me to sign it. I don’t think e-books will ever match that experience. I suspect that readers who move entirely to e-book purchases may lose their desire for autographs. Bookstore signings seem to be on the wan, in any case, as stores close or shift their emphasis to other merchandise.

  4. Becky: You are such a smart cookie! (And not just because your brain works like mine.) 😉

    Sandra: How about if a favorite author of yours sent you a video autograph wherein they thanked you by name for reading their book, and then added some personal comment based on what you had emailed them. What if you could somehow attach that video to the ebook file, so they were stored together?

  5. Esri-
    Great post. I’m new to kindle books and electronic publishing (both as a reader and an author), but now that I’m convinced it’s the direction publishing will go, I’m not looking back. I think some kind of scrapbook system is an excellent idea. Record labels and indie bands do a great job of providing groups and recording artists with card stock for fans to sign, and I think it’s an idea that could be easily transitioned to publishing/writers.

  6. LoL, Esri. 🙂 I’ll have to send you some demo-photos as soon as I have some. I can only imagine what a Chi-of-B passport would look like. 😉

    I think that if I’m able to make these ‘passports’, having them large enough to also hold/store cards that authors have made themselves would be a good move.

    The video comment would be a neat way of doing it, also! Could even be included what would normally be the “acknowledgements” page or some such. 🙂

  7. I have a custom bookplate that I sign and send readers. Those who have actual books can stick it inside the book, those who have e-readers can just keep it like the postcard suggested. They seem to like it.

  8. I remember autograph books! My school friends and I never encountered any celebrities, but we wrote things in each others’ autograph books. I wonder where all those little books are now.

    Esri, I like the video autograph idea. Some enterprising programmer will probably produce an app that will be easy to use. In the meantime, I always reply promptly when someone e-mails to tell me she/he enjoyed one of my books. Few things make me smile more readily than fan mail! I will mail autographed bookplates to readers who want them for printed books. I’ll even pay for the envelope and postage. 🙂

  9. I wrote my first book 7 years ago, atleast your’s is selling. Mine went curplunk, but I’m atleast published right? Keep up the good work

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