May 272017

So, progress on the novel has been brisk of late. The end is in sight! I’m currently sitting at about 400 novel-length pages, which is frankly probably far too long for a first novel by an unknown nobody. But, y’know, editing… For all I know, cut all the drivel out of it and it might result in a pamphlet.

But let’s say it gets published, and meets with great acclaim. Huzzah! One thing that authors seem to do is book signings. Now, at the best of times this idea fills me with an uncomfortableness. On the one hand, being the center of attention? Bleah. On the other hand, how many times have you gone to a Books-A-Barnes & Borders and saw a book signing by an author you’ve never heard of, hawking a book that seems uninteresting to you, and the author is sitting at the table, piled with books… and there ain’t nobody there. Yeesh. Talk bout a buzz kill. About the only thing more distressing than being the object of attention of a bunch of strangers is to be *ignored* at such an event. I always feel *real* bad for the very sad and lonely looking authors at such empty events.

So, California has come up with a solution: basically make book signings illegal.

California threatens to shut down book signings and therefore small booksellers

If you are selling a “signed something-or-other worth more than five bucks,” guess what… onerous new book-keeping regulations:

Sellers must, among other things:

  1. Note the purchase price and date of sale,
  2. specify whether the item is part of a limited edition,
  3. note the size of the edition, anticipate any future editions,
  4. disclose whether the seller is bonded,
  5. divulge any previous owner’s name and address,
  6. if the book was signed in the presence of the seller, specify the date and location of the signing, and identify a witness to the autograph.

And what happens if you don’t have such records for a book signing that occurred, say, five years before the State official shows up to check your papers? Potentially tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Ta-da. No more book signings.

 Posted by at 6:10 pm
  • Bruce

    I knew a girl that wrote some children’s books and I remember what she did was got her first
    book published soft cover and everything and she made arrangements with one of the local libraries to give them a free copy and to put it on their shelves.

  • otherles

    Why don’t we just hang the censors?

  • Bob

    The People’s Republic of California. North Korea ain’t got nothing on us.

  • Knigh26

    Depending on how poorly this piece of legislation is written, and with the RoC it will be bad, this could also kill celebrity appearances at conventions, especially older celebs at smaller cons. There are a large number of celebs who make a decent living just running the convention circuit, but they are just doing things themselves, or with their spouses/friends. They don’t have the funds to afford to have an accountant/business manager sitting there handling all that for an autograph.

  • Kopis

    “No written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice that transcend human legal systems.”

    “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the great legislator of the Universe.”
    -John Adams(1735-1826)- 2nd U.S. President

    Learn the difference between ‘legal’ versus ‘lawful,’ which one is always superior, and why. Unfortunately, ‘legal’ is often backed up with physical force, i.e. guns. “….[T]he modern State enjoys the support of countless court intellectuals and apologists, it rests at bottom on the use of violence in the event that we do not accept the excuses it makes for its crimes.” ~Robert Higgs

  • Herp McDerp

    I wonder if this could be circumvented by having the bookstore sell only un-autographed books, with the author autographing them after the sale. That wouldn’t solve the problem of bookstores running afoul of the law by selling autographed books after the event, but you can’t have everything.

    Or maybe you can! What if the bookstores sold only un-autographed books, but also gave out autographed stickers or bookplates for $0.50 apiece … or as freebies? The bookstore could keep a large supply of stickers after the signing for fans of the author who couldn’t make it to the event.

    • Herp McDerp

      By the way, at least one SF author — Larry Niven — doesn’t “sign” books. He uses a rubber stamp with his signature on it to keep his hand from falling off after autographing a few hundred books at each signing event. The fans don’t seem to mind.

      • Scottlowther

        Niven signed one for *me.*

        • Herp McDerp

          Well, he used to sign them, but AFAIK he now uses the rubber stamp. When did he sign your book?

          (Heh. I have a signed-in-ballpoint-pen first-edition copy of Ringworld — the one in which the Earth rotates backwards.)

  • Rick

    Sell stuff in state then get out while you can.

    Got another signed book from Harry Turtledove himself on Saturday at a con here in San Jose.

    there’s a couple good aviation museums around here you’d want to populate some camera memory cards with.