Other people make me worth money

Published by SGJ on June 8th, 2011 - in etc

This is a guest post by Caleb J. Ross as part of his Stranger Will Tour for Strange blog tour. He will be guest-posting beginning with the release of his novel Stranger Will in March 2011 to the release of his second novel, I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin in November 2011. If you have connections to a lit blog of any type, professional journal or personal site, please contact him. To be a groupie and follow this tour, subscribe to the Caleb J Ross blog RSS feed. Follow him on Twitter: @calebjross.com. Friend him on Facebook: Facebook.com/rosscaleb

caleb cormac

Cormac McCarthy, at age 70, brilliantly signed only 200 copies of The Road. He gave every single book to his eleven year-old son with the idea that the boy could sell them at age 18 to “go to Las Vegas or whatever.” By that time, sadly, Cormac McCarthy will likely be dead. This gesture is simultaneously heartfelt and hilarious; the former because of the enormous age gap (McCarthy simply wants to make sure his boy is taken care of), and the latter because books and Las Vegas are, in most other contexts, mutually exclusive.

There’s some egomania in the act, too. Who but someone a bit full of himself would bank on his autographs ever being worth anything? I’ve signed plenty in my day, but often buffer the quick scribble with inscribed variations of “this is stupid” or “sorry to ruin this book by writing all over it.” I exude humility (is that an oxymoron?), to a fault many would say. I’m ego-averting, self-depreciating, and terrible in the sack (see what I did there?).

But I want people to covet my handwritten name. How? I’ll get other people to write it. Better people. Now, as each of these more famous people die off, the book will become exponentially more valuable. Maybe by the time my kid is 18 he can sell the book for a trip to Las Vegas, too. Or at least Branson, Missouri. During the 2011 AWP Conference in Washington DC I tricked a few authors into signing my name on a copy of Charactered Pieces. Here are signatures from Michael Sonbert (We Are Oblivion), Nik Korpon (Stay God), Brandon Tietz (Out of Touch), and Jillian Weise (The Colony).


My intentions were to collect many more names, but alcohol has a way of making one forget to push his book on people. caleb charactered pieces

sig page ledfeather Or, I could devalue the signed work of others. How? I take book signed by an author—in this example I’ll pick Ledfeather by some guy named Stephen Graham Jones—and drown the signature in my own doodles and scribbles.
So, am I auction-worthy on eBay yet?
© stephen graham jones