A reader brought something to my attention that I found troublesome.
She had purchased some of my backlist on eBay, from one of the zillion or so vendors who offer a smorgasbord of merchandise in an effort to cater to the varied tastes of their customers. This particular vendor had tacked on a healthy premium to one of my newer books because the book was autographed by the author. Any wonder the reader emailed me, asking not only why I charge to sign my books, but why I charge more than double the book's original price?
More than double? Ouch.
Go ahead. Ask me if I was a happy bunny when I received the question.
Unfortunately, neither was she when she read my reply. Here's why:
First off, writers aren't compensated for used book sales. We get nothing. Zilcho. Zip. Nada. No matter how often or where a used book is sold and resold, only one person makes money and that's the person doing the selling. I wish it were different, but there y'go.
Secondly, I don't autograph books . . . at least, not anymore. I did the first couple of books, when I donated them to a charity or other fundraiser, but I quit the practice. Now, I leave it to the movie stars and the politicians to give autographs.
I'm a writer. I inscribe my books to a specific individual when the person buying the book asks me to, and I've even been known to hug that person's neck in gratitude. I don't mind signing a book. I do it for free, and I say thank you for trusting me with your precious reading time.
What I do mind is being someone else's cash cow.
But there's not much I can do about it, except to say caveat emptor - buyer beware. I don't know who autographed the book that reader bought. And I don't know if the vendor knew . . . or even cared. Odds are, probably neither.
So I have a suggestion, and I think I speak for many authors. If you have a book you want me to sign, send it directly to me. I'll sign it for you.