On the Getting of Signed, Personalized Books From Me For the Holidays

I’ve been getting a steadily increasing stream of e-mails from folks wondering how they might go about getting signed and/or personalized books from me for themselves or to give as gifts this upcoming holiday season. I briefly thought about having all y’all buy the books locally and then mail them to me directly with return envelopes and postage, but then I remembered how extraordinarily disorganized I am about mailing things, and realized that if you send them to me personally, you might get them back in time for Christmas, 2010. Which might annoy you.

So here’s an alternate and much better plan:

1. You call my local independent bookseller, Jay and Mary’s Book Center, located in scenic Troy, Ohio.

2. You tell them which of my books you would like to order from them, and how you would like those books personalized. You pay them the cost of the book plus shipping to where you are (or where you would like the books to go). Order as many as you would like, fiction and non-fiction both.

3. I come in within a few days to sign and personalize your books.

4. The books get packaged and shipped by people who aren’t as lazy and disorganized as I am, thus ensuring they arrive where you want them to go, in a timely fashion.

5. There is much rejoicing.

And thus I get to do two nice things at one time: Make my readers happy, and help out a local independent bookseller who has been very good to me as a local author. Everybody wins.

Two things to note: I’ll be doing this only through the holidays, so now is the time to get this service if you want it, and also unless you happen to be attending the Loscon science fiction convention in a couple of weeks (and I certainly hope you will!), this is likely to be the only way to get signed, personalized books from me for a while, since aside from Loscon I have no scheduled appearances through next March (rumor is that I might spend that time writing more books. But it’s just a rumor).

In any event, this is how to get some signed, personalized Scalzi books for the holidays.

45 Comments on “On the Getting of Signed, Personalized Books From Me For the Holidays”

  1. To answer the inevitable “hey, I already own your books, can’t I just mail them to you?” question, I’ve found that generally speaking that doesn’t work as well as I would like, mostly because I let these things pile up and send them back late and so on. Basically, the breakdown in that system is me, because I suck. The best way to get books that you already own signed by me is to come to a convention or book signing I’m doing.

  2. A signing at a convention is also the only workable way to get a body part signed. The by-mail method tends to be messy, and can lead to visits from your local law enforcement.

    Just sayin’…

  3. As non-local and super-not-independently-owned as amazon is, I’m a little shocked they haven’t attempted to corner this market, they definitely know how to ship stuff around and make it easy enough to do so.

    Also, how about the Freakonomics method of book signing, offer free or cheap-as-free signed bookplates (ie: stickers) to smack inside our already-owned books? Heck, I’d even consider some sort of card for us (paid, not pirated) e-book users.

  4. What a terrific idea! I love supporting my local business, and so you do that (and a bookstore to boot!) as well as making things easier on you (so you spend more time writing).

    In my case, however, the only signed books I care to get are the ones that say something like “Thanks for proofing this book”.

    But if I’m tempted to send any of your books as gifts (and I may be), I’ll partake of this..


  5. John, you may have bitten off more than you can chew here. You may be underestimating how lazy WE all are, and you just gave us all a convenient way to send a really cool gift to our SF reading friends. You may hit quadruple digits on sales here.

    If that happens, and you aren’t able to finish due to muscle cramps, I hope you go first-come-first-serve so I still get mine!

  6. This is immensely cool. I hope word gets out and other authors around the country/world begin to do this with their own local indie bookstores. Could be a great way to get business/attention to locally-owned shops and drive sales for authors. Like you said, everybody wins.

  7. What if we want to just show up on your doorstep with book-in-hand, all Glenn Close-like? (Would it help if we promised not to cook any of your pets?)

  8. I can fake his signature if you want. Send to me (w/ a small fee) and I can sign them as John Scalvi and send back. The person receiving the gift will never know!

    Save’s John time and I get some extra spending cash!

    Call for details. 1-800-Yah-Rite*

    *Note have no clue where that number goes :)

  9. “…I have no scheduled appearances through next March”

    You are still coming to Millenicon (in Cincinnati March 20-22), aren’t you? They’ve got you down as GOH.

    And you’re not doing Confusion this year? You really want to miss Detroit in January?

  10. How about a signing at Jay and Mary’s??? That would be mighty convenient for those of us in Miami County, and then you could go for Japanese at Sakai. (alas Arang closed down a few weeks ago)

  11. Yes, John, it’s about time you get your lazy ass in gear and send me that book. Otherwise, I’m going to send all your new online friends those pictures of you on the bearskin rug.

  12. Patrick M:

    Just because I said I’m thinking about hiring an assistant, it doesn’t mean I went out and did it. Among other things, there’s the issue of having the money to pay one.

    J. Elaine:

    Maybe with the release of the next book.

  13. Could people who already have copies of your books send them to the bookstore for a signing and then have them sent back? Maybe if they promised to also order a new book from the store?

  14. Would they ship internationally? I have a friend in Norway who would adore a signed book for Christmas. I mean I could just get it shipped to me but knowing me she wouldn’t see it until March or something.

  15. Hang on…I thought LosCon was your next public appearance. I was planning on getting autographs then. Did I miss something?

  16. Wow, those folk are *so nice*. I ended up getting paperbacks of your stuff plus a bunch of books I had on my amazon wishlist just to give them more business :)

  17. John,

    Did you stand on the display shelves to get that shot?

    Local Miami County Readers,
    Jay and Mary’s had a 15% off any in-stock book or magazine coupon in Wednesday or Thursday’s Piqua Daily Call. Every little bit of help to support my reading habit is appreciated, and I thought you might be similar!

  18. Very classy and a great way for us all to support small, “local” businesses.

    I don’t know if we even *have* an independent bookstore reasonably close to my home.

  19. John, you have to come to ConFusion. Come on, Doctorow’s gonna be there. I’d {insert ridiculous hyperbole regarding possible actions} to see you both on a panel.

  20. So, for us procrastinators and Libras in the world…do you have some kind of deadline that we should adhere to? I’m assuming you won’t be signing books on the 24th, yah.

    I can tell it is going to take me a while to decide between Zoe’s Tale or The Sagan Dairy. I suppose I could do both, but I am technically on a book diet and my DH is very canny when it comes to discovering smuggled books.

  21. Hey John,
    I recognize that isle in the bookstore. That is the isle and shelf that your books are in. That is where I buy all your books….when my friend Karen….your neighbor, isn’t getting them and having them signed by you for my wedding gift. AWESOME gift. Since Krissy married us is was a double special day. Krissy did a fantastic job with our wedding vows. Did she let you read what she had written? If not let me know and I will email them to you. They were AWSOME!!! Everyone that was at our wedding wanted a copy of them. Thanks for the wonderful books…keep on writing and everyone will keep on reading.

  22. John, you are just cool. I suddenly have multiple gifts taken care of. Thanks so much. (plus I now know what i am asking for!)

  23. Hey John –

    As usual, you look out for the group and we appreciate it.

    I just wanted to mention that I bought a copy of ZOE’S from Jay and Mary’s store, and man, these people are the greatest! They are probably some of the nicest bookstore owners that I’ve dealt with to date. They expedited my purchase, called me to confirm the order and checked after I had received it. It’s obviously a very nice store and run by true book lovers. Highly recommended.

    Jay Willson

  24. I can’t tell you how cool I think this is. Making signed copies available for people to purchase is cool. But doing this through your local independent book store is the coolest. Well done Sir!

  25. I think it’s awesome that you are signing anything. If I were in your place my lazy ass probably wouldn’t even do that. Then again, I expect not having a lazy ass has more than a bit to do with how you got to where you are. :)

  26. John, Thank you so much for doing that. I confess I have been a slacker and not bought your books yet; only getting them from the library. So now I can redeem myself, support you, a local bookstore, and get a great Christmas present at the same time! Sweet. and might I also add…squee!

    Dan in Syracuse

  27. John,

    Are you still signing books? I just found out that you have done this in the past from your local store, and would love to purchase a signed book (although I already have all your works that I know of).