May 19, 2010

I bought a signed copy of a Koontz book, but it didn’t have the middle initial in the signature. Later, I saw your books signed with the initial. Is this your signature or did I get ripped off?

Carrie, you did not get ripped off if you have a signed book in which I failed to include my middle initial. Years ago, I dropped the R from my by-line but for a while still included it in my signature. Then, after doing a series of book signings at which I signed over 8,000 copies, I realized that including my middle initial had been a reckless squandering of time. The initial and the precisely placed period following it required a full second to execute. In that single series of book signings, I had spent 133 minutes providing an initial that most readers didn’t need, and that those people with a phobia about the letter R actually found repellent if not terrifying. I figured that if I did book signings every year for 40 years, I would have gained 88 hours of time for other pursuits. Recently, I have begun to wonder what I will do with those 88 hours when I have fully earned them, and the possibilities are enormously exciting. At the moment, I think that because there is little else I love doing more than eating nachos, I will have an 88-hour marathon nachos-eating session. (For a while, I considered that if I signed 8,000 books every day of the year, leaving out the useless letter R and the time-consuming period, I would gain more than thirty-three days of life each year. Then I realized there must be an even higher number of books that, signed without the initial every day, would save me so much time each year that I would live forever. But the math didn’t work.)

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