Author Topic: A question about offering signed bookplates?  (Read 3789 times)


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A question about offering signed bookplates?
« on: February 12, 2010, 08:15:35 am »
Hey Patty,
I would love, love to be able to meet you and get my books signed in person - but, unfortunately, your signings and appearances haven't been close to Indiana thus far. I was just wondering, because I noticed some authors to do this, do you have any signed bookplates that fans can adhere to the inside of our books? Just thought I would ask. :)


PS- Just want to let you know that I think you are amazingly talented! I think you have the most fleshed out characters. Your writing really makes me feel like I know these people and the world they live in. The Mercy series is my absolute favorite.
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Mike Briggs

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Re: Signed Bookplates?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 08:26:15 pm »
We've thought about these several times.  A very kind fan actually made a bunch for Patty at her own expense, and of course there are good printers in the Tri-Cities.  I know other authors sometimes use book plates (or bookmarks) as a marketing tool.

However, there something I just don't understand . . . obviously I'm missing something.  Authors that do book plates typically give them away as a perk for those who buy the book.  After all, charging for a signature is gauche, and would only anger the fans.  I'm virtually certain that if we put them up on the web-store for a buck or so my email would be overflowing with outraged complaints.  Honestly, I have the same mind set.  A signed book plate should be a gift, not a product. So, I can't sell them, but they're dirt cheap, so what do we really have to lose?

The book plates are cheap, but not free.  Let's say they cost a dime each to produce (this would be a rock-bottom price for full color self-adhesive labels).   Maybe another dime or so for an envelope, and 42 cents to mail, unless the reader is overseas, in which case it's a couple of dollars.  It takes Patty just a  moment to sign each one of them, but if you figure in the time to collate requests from various emails, address the envelopes, and mail them it's no longer an insignificant amount of time.  So, each book plate ends up costing us, conservatively, sixty cents and several minutes of time.  That's almost exactly the amount of profit we see from a paperback sale.  

So, giving away a book plate would zero out the profit from the sale of that book and burn a few minutes time.  Maybe we could live with that.  After all, it makes the reader happy, and all authors want happy readers.  But it's worse.  Patty has moderate carpel tunnel.  She's OK typing, but book signings are a little hard on her hands.   She recently signed a thousand books, over two days, and lost another couple of days due to pain issues.  If we offered free book plates, and just one reader in a hundred took us up on it, she'd be signing 2000 book plates, and addressing 2000 envelopes.  That's not fun -- that's a job, and one that would probably result in Patty needing corrective surgery!  :o

So, if we do it for free we get overrun with requests (and probably lose fifteen hundred dollars or so for every book published), not to mention hurting Patty.    If we charge, we're evil.   I don't know how other authors make it work, but it looks like a bad idea to us.    Sorry!    :-' 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 08:31:28 pm by Mike Briggs »
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