January 23, 2007


This morning I found that I didn't know how to sign my own name.

That's always a disconcerting discovery, no? Lo, these many years of flinging off my breezy (and thoroughly indecipherable) signature, now I find it takes... thought. I was squinting over the swoops, and studying the loops.

It was ... alarming.

Normally, you never look at your signature, unless you're buying something and you've got one of those clerks who scrutinize the back of your debit card to make sure you're you (I seem to get that a lot), or you have a particularly scary librarian (as I also used to get a lot) who doesn't believe you live where you live, when you've just moved and you're dying to just FIND A BOOK TO READ to make all the evil of boxes and moving vans and unpacked linen closets GO AWAY for just awhile...!


But I digress..
I am only obsessing over my signature because I was required to sign four separate book contracts for RH. And initial in various places. And sign my full name. Oh -- and read the whole thing. There is nothing like starting your day by reading lawyer-ese. It's pretty much enough to ruin your appetite. For a minute or two, anyway.
As of this morning, I loathe my signature, I really do. Maybe it was the pen... but something wasn't right. And it's not like a cheque, you can't just -- rip it up and say VOID and start over again. That's a surefire way to start things off on completely the wrong foot with the lawyers at a publishing house, tearing up the contracts they've been fiddling with since OCTOBER (and which were delayed at the last minute on Friday because Secret Agent Man emailed to say he'd found errors. There are a lot of things crossed out on this contract [which is apparently common], which give the contracts an air of being a skirmishing ground, where a war of words was fought with black ink. Go, S.A.M.!). I think not only would the lawyers be skeeved out, my agent would be ready to hang me out to dry, too. We've both been waiting so long for this whole thing to come together.

On the whole, I am pleased with my contract. (It's not like I have much to compare it to -- duh!) I find that I have retained rights I never knew I had (Thanks to S.A.M., who really does do his job); should I decide my novel needs licensed stationery sold with it, or calendars... well, should I actually do that, somebody find me and smack me (I'm talking to you, a. fortis), but hey, options, people. That's what agents and contracts are all about.

Should anyone need me, I'll be scribbling with a black crayon, practicing my book-signing moves.



a. fortis said...

Jeez, it sounds just as bad as buying a house. ;) Only you're agreeing to make money instead of send it away every month.

TadMack said...

It terrified me about as much as signing for the house -- TRUST ME. It actually felt a lot like signing up for a credit card... I kept obsessing that someone would be looking at my signature and saying, "Hey, that one's not the same," and somehow they'd reject me... or something.