Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sign Here

Photo Credit: Marcel Hol/Stock.XCHNG
By Nikki Studebaker Barcus

Does your hand itch to sign on the dotted line securing an agent or a book contract? Perhaps your fingers long to feel the weight of the pen as you autograph the first copy of your very own published novel. Or maybe you dream of the day when you press your written imprint across the “Endorse Here” line of your first royalty check. 

I recently read an account of John Green, the Indianapolis-based YA author who, before the release of his fourth book, The Fault in Our Stars,  pledged to sign every first edition print of the book. His first three books each ran around 20,000-30,000 copies, so this sounds like a worthy goal. Imagine Green’s shock when his anxious teenage fans pre-ordered enough books to put it in and Barnes &'s No. 1 spot before it was completely written and  the publisher ran 150,000 books in the first printing. Green required steroid treatments, but he fulfilled his pledge to sign every copy.
I thought of this in light of the recent debate concerning the decision in many schools and states to stop the teaching of cursive handwriting. While many Indiana schools continue to teach it, legislators removed it from the third grade standards with the 2011-12 school year. How are our children ever going to sign contracts, give autographs, or endorse their checks? Will a computer sign their pledges of undying love in notes written to sweethearts? Will a mere number suffice as proof on their marriages licenses? Will their fingerprint serve as the only identification next to their child's footprint on a birth certificate?

I hope it never comes to that. The truth is, we sign our name to those things we treasure and want to prove ownership of or to authenticate. A painting is made valuable by the signature of the artist. A first edition book is considered rare because it bears the autograph of the author. An idea is made law by the scrawl of a president.

Did you know you are also a "signed original"? Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” Some versions even use the word "masterpiece" when referring to you and to me. God signs his name to his masterpiece when he put His seal on you. He claims you as His own good work, His rare work of art, His beautiful creation.

And like most things in life, God first sets the example and then asks us to follow. We are told to work at everything as to the Lord. Is your work worthy of your signature? Are you willing to commit your autograph to your writing? What about your relationships? Can you endorse them in good conscience? And your walk with God--does it bear the seal of authenticity? 

The year is still fresh and new, a superb time for making changes and commitments to do things better than we have in the past. Signature-worthy things, both in our writing and in our life. Who's with me?  


  1. Nice post, Nikki. I'm with you all the way.

    On a side note - last year I won two different books from blog contests. One author signed the novel, and the other author signed it personally to me. Either way, it's so nice to have signed copies to treasure.

    1. I agree, Loree. Signed copies make them all the more special. What a nice thing for you to win.

  2. Nikki, I loved this post! The story about John Green reminds me how God will meet us in our pledges and bring us to a higher place!

    And that verse is so encouraging and speaks to writers.

    Bless you, Nikki, in all of your life and writing.

  3. Crystal, thanks so much. You are such an encourager and a cheerleader--not just for me, but I know for so many others. Way to sign your name, girl!

  4. Nikki,

    As always, I love your posts! I love the thought that the Lord has his signature on us. He is proud of His creation. What a beautiful reminder.

    And I'm with you, friend! Let's do work with all our might.


    1. His signature on us and His image in us.

      Thanks, Melanie.

  5. Excellent! Very inspirational. Thanks for the encouragement. Of course, practically a printed name would substitute for a signed name, but still...

    Interesting note: Clasical composer Antonin Dvorak wrote "Praise God!" (Probably in the Czech language) after all except one of his works. Also, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote "To the glory of God" on all his compositions. Thought you all might find that interesting.

    May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you.


  6. Preach it, sistah! May the author of our salvation enjoy signing each and every one of our lives.