Friday, August 10, 2007

The Never Ending Sig Line

Hope you like the new cover for my upcoming short story, Mirror Mirror, coming soon to Loose Id.

Marie Harte
Experience the paranormal, the future and the fantasy of romance

Welcome to the wonderful world of sig lines, or Signature Lines--one of my more recent pet peeves. With the advent of the Internet and the influx of correspondence now done electronically, a lot of people now use sig lines instead of tagging their names to each and every email sent. Of course, this presents a great headache when friends and associates forget that we only have so much time in the day to download and read our email. And God-forbid you're on dial-up. You'll never get your emails downloaded.

For writers, a sig line often possesses three things: Author name, author link (i.e. website/blog) and a catch phrase associated with the writer. Some authors like to mention a current work, a publisher, or an award they've earned. HOWEVER, some people sign their emails with everything but the kitchen sink. For example, on the loops, it's not uncommon to see someone post an engaging piece, then end with:
Annette Alphabet
Erotic Romance at Its best
www dot anniealphabet dot com, http slash and dot blogspot, wordpress, www dot www dot etc
Fictionseller bestseller
Seven and Seven, coming soon from Book Publisher
Now available, One on One, Two on Two, Three by Three, Four at Four, Lucky at Cards, Unlucky at Love ...
And the book names keep on coming!! I mean, sorry, but come on! (I'm harping on those involved in the writing industry here, since that's the majority of people I deal with daily on the Internet.) Do we really need to see every single book you've ever published in the sig line? And why are four or five different websites and blogs mentioned? The sig line should stick in the reader's mind for effect, and if it's too long, wordy or confusing, people will most likely ignore the bottom of a post/email, which completely goes against the reason for posting it in the first place.

Now I'm not saying it's wrong to create a paragraph of a sig line, but my personal preference, and all the posts I've ever seen written on the subject, mention the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. (a great axiom often prescribed in the Marine Corps as well. :)

And for those of you who post on yahoo loops without cropping messages, remember, your sig line and others are repeated and repeated and repeated, making reading the loops just as difficult as reading your emails.

Just wanted to mention an unfortunate trend I'm seeing more and more of lately. *sigh*

Happy Friday anyway!!



Stacia said...

Amen! This sig line problem bugs me to no end when I'm trying to sort through the emails that I get from various yahoo loops.

BrennaLyons said...

I'm with you! The laundry list sig line does no good, IMO. There isn't anything to keep the reader...well, reading, which defeats the purpose. A sig line should be eye-catching, memorable and short.

What should be in a sig line? You have choices...ALWAYS your URL, and remember your pen name will be above it, when you sign your post! Beyond that, you can choose what goes there. A review quote (no more than two short sentences) OR a log line for the book (short blurb) OR a very short excerpt (a line or two and no more from the book itself, if you have a strong enough quote to pull it off) OR a tag line for yourself and your writing...the catch-phrase you use. Not all of of them. I'd also put the single book you're trying to sell as a title at the end.

Remember to remove your tag line on lists that don't allow it, and I always suggest making your tag line short enough to comply to the SHORTEST allowed length for the lists you frequent. In my case, I have to keep it 3 lines long or less, because that's the shortest allowed list I have.

And, remember to change tag lines, from time to time, to keep people looking at them. If it NEVER changes, people stop reading it.


Brenda Williamson said...

The longer the sig line, the less likely I notice it, because after 3-5 lines, it looks like part of yahoo's advertisements :-)

I use several for different reasons, but below is my most used sig line. If anyone really wants to know more about me, they'll find all the info there.


Jane Leopold Quinn said...

I agree with what's already been said. Sig lines should be short and sweet. Your name, your website/blog, and your most recent title. Now some people have books out at a lot of publishers, so maybe the most recent 2 should be listed. 3-4 lines at most.

Some people put covers or banners. That's probably all right except that I'm on dial up and sometimes they don't load or take too long. But that's just dial up.

Anonymous said...

I like sign lines ;-) I know shoot me. But I don't always have tons of time to go cruising around the net to people's webpages. So if I see an email in a loop and it has a sig line with a title or two I can take a quick look at the titles and maybe get a quick feel if they are in a genre I might be interested in. I also am into blogs, so if I see a url for a blog in a sig I will go scope it out.

If the author just list their name and their webpage url in a sig will I take the time to go to their webpage to see if what they write? Will I take the time to navigate around their site looking to see if they have a blog. I haven't so far ;-)

Samantha Storm -
*Shadow Vision ** On Sale Now!!
Eye of the Storm - now in print from NCP
My Space -
Blogs- Butterscotch Martini Girls -
Supreme Ruler of the Universe
Member of the "I'm a Amazon Club"
World record coffee drinker
Buy your - I'm not a domestic Diva Buttons here...NOW..RIGHT NOW!
Is a member of I love Pizza anytime, even cold in the morning International Organization. ;-)
*.¸¸.·´¨`*.¸¸.·´¨`*.¸¸.·´¨`*.¸¸.·´¨`* `·.·´ *.¸¸.·´¨`*.¸¸.·´¨`*

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Since we are authors and a sig line is our little advertisement, I think it is a wonderful tool for marketing. I enjoy them when they have art work and it's good to know an email site and the names of recent books. I have seen some that seem to never end and, yes, that can be annoying. Sometimes I forget that mine is there and find it posted where I didn't intend it and that is upsetting. More over though, it's hard to earn a living writing and I forgive the occasional excess as I hope others will give me a break once in a while as well. Just like I didn't intend to blab on and on in this message. LOL
Sarah J. McNeal

N.J.Walters said...

LOL I think most of us have been guilty at times of the long signiture line. I'm trying to cut back, but every now and again, something else sneaks in. *g*
Discover Jamesville ~ Discovering Dani, The Way Home
and The Return of Patrick O'Rourke

D. Renee Bagby said...

My vote is for short and sweet. I never thought of changing it up, but I don't have much to change mine to since I only have one book out and one coming soon. :)

Frankly, I stop reading after the third or fourth line. Actually, I don't bother reading if I notice the sig is long. I don't feel like devoting the time -- a little lazy on my part, but whatever. I skim since my emails from yahoo come in digest form and people don't know how to cut previous posts before sending their reply.

I feel like your name, URL, most recent book, a coming soon and a tag should be enough.

Sig lines should be like make-up -- less is more.

Mary Caelsto said...

I agree with this post. Thank you so much for saying this!!!

Robin Snodgrass said...

I agree with you on the whole sig line mess. I think more than 3-4 lines is overkill. And, ESPECIALLY in Yahoo groups - heaven forbid you are on digest because without trimming, those can get so big, they have to be sent as an attachment, which you then download, just to see all the non-trimmed posts and signature line repeats ad nauseum...argh

I've read some that really stick in my mind because they are short and to the point and others that are so long they cause me to cringe.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who feels this way!!

Thanks Marie!

Robin Snodgrass

Joy said...

LOL - I so agree - I like it simple

Sharon M.Bidwell said...

I think five lines tops and I think it should vary to what you're posting. I don't mind, say, a slightly longer sig line at the end of an excerpt but cut what I post to loops. I don't mind one banner in a signature.

Speaking of the yahoo loops, it annoys me more when people reply to messages on a loop without ever shortening the original message. It gets so messy. On loops that I hang out on a lot I often just sign Shaz. I mean my name is at the top saying who posted and if they want they can look me up. On the LI community loop for example I almost always just sign Shaz unless I'm specifically promoting something. I'm an LI author, it's the LI community loop. People should be able to work out how to find me?

Saying that, for me, what I 'need' can vary depending what I'm doing so I've a long signature in notepad file and I often open that, copy, paste, and take out the lines I don't need. It can be a very few seconds etc work but it means the right publisher info gets a mention next to the right promo. When posting an excerpt, I'll even put the link to where someone can buy the books first and then my name and website beneath because not all readers want to visit an author's site.

Kaz Augustin said...

Hey Shaz! I'm Kaz! :)

The long sig lines only moderately irritate me. I have scroll wheels on my mouse & keyboard, so scrolling past a couple of extra lines isn't going to cost much...although I do wonder at the writer who feels the need to be anything other than succinct. A lot like this reply, maybe? ;) biggest beef is with people who refuse to trim when replying. I mean to say, it isn't that difficult, folks! I live half a world away so am on digest and even the scroll wheel starts to friction up as I go past paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of completely and utterly useless text., sometimes in raw CSS.

I don't go for the "oops, I just forgot, hee hee" defence. To me, it's a sign of bad manners. Crap, I'm starting to sound like my mother now.