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Lazy Authors Get Publisher to Hire Forgers for Autographs

Gawker noticed a legitimate ad on Craigslist seeking 14 people to forge the autographs of a two person bestselling writing team.

Requirements: You must be able to demonstrate your ability to precisely copy the authors’ signatures.

I’m sure that there are few people in prison who could help you out on that and you’d only have to pay them $0.40 per day. I can’t decide if the authors are that horribly lazy. Whether the publisher is opening itself up to legal ramifications from paying people to learn to forge other’s signatures. Or whether the authors hate their readers so much that they can’t bear to be within a table’s width of them. Or whether that many people really, really want a signed book that in order to save the authors’ from repetitive stress injury, these ghost signers are necessary.

Via the Guardian.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. veinglory
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 19:59:53

    I am not sure that wielding a digipan or stamp is really akin to forging. The use of these devices is already pretty commonplace and has little to do with personalised ‘appearance’ signings.

  2. Angie
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 22:35:17

    I’m wondering whether the publisher is doing some sort of promotion and needs thousands of signed books? One year when I chaired an SF convention, I had to sign about three books of checks all at once, so the artists from the art show could be paid. That one evening changed my signature forever, even aside from the horribly painful hand and wrist I had to deal with afterward. And that wasn’t really all that many signatures, relatively speaking. :/


  3. Sparky
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 08:26:55

    Aye, if they’re going to resort to having someone else sign autographs for them the least they could do is be less tacky and not advertise the fact

  4. DS
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 08:35:21

    I would like to see the ad that has sold/is going to sell these books. Cannot say signed by the author. Might just be going to get an autographed sticker but there’s an air of fraud about this. If nothing else they are defrauding people who are their biggest fans.

    There’s a current trend in collecting to preferring books with personalized inscriptions– “To Michael”, rather than just the name and date, whereas the name and date books used to command higher prices.
    If this is a common practice in the industry (even if they don’t advertise on CL)then I can see why this shift has occurred.

    Heavens, lets go the whole Heinlein way and hire doubles to appear for the authors at book signings.

  5. Bernita
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 09:15:49

    Reads almost like a sting for paperhangers.

  6. Randi
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 14:48:59

    When I saw William Gibson at the Philly public library, for non-personalized autographs, he only allowed one book. For personalized autographs, you can bring as many as you wanted. I see this as a workable solution for both authors and collectors.

  7. Liviania
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 23:11:01

    This doesn’t surprise me that much. Autographs are always more valuable if you have a picture of the object being signed, particularly if by a celebrity or similar. Many signatures are done by stamps, secretaries, and other similar strategies.

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