I’m not sure what the chip on Alistair Harper’s shoulder is* but his blog post for the Guardian on Stephen King is one of the more crass posts that I’ve read. Taking the recent story about Stephen King siging books in a small store in Australia and being mistaken for a vandal, he goes off on one about King’s obvious vanity. Well yes, I take it as a small part of vanity wanting to sign one’s own books (though I confess to not having actually finished writing mine yet) but offering signed copies of authors is one way of supporting them (as well as making the books technically unreturnable – though this has rarely prevented this happening) and it makes some authors feel good.
Lord knows I’ve chased authors for signatures myself so I had signed stock in the various places I’ve worked in and I’ve been approached by authors to sign books. I’ve heard of authors (and suspect know) who’ve gone in and signed books anyway. Its called self-promotion and many authors do it to keepÂ books selling.
Lets face it, Stephen King probably doesn’t need to sell more books to pay the mortgage and his writing is perhaps slightly off the boil now from what it was but if he has the time to give back to the fans in his own time and still remember bookshops, then more power to him.Â I suspect in the current climate, more authors will need to do this and to get out and about. See our ealier post regarding Christopher Barzak.
*though the byline saying he’s an “unpublished novelist and penniless musician” gives it away. If he gets published,Â how quickly will his tune change?