Later this month, my wife, Angie, and I will pop down to Charlotte, NC to attend a portion of the Christian Product Expo. The CPE is a large Christian book trade show that also provides workshops and training for those who want to learn more about the Christian publishing industry.
There is a large exhibition floor as well as entertainment and exclusive movie premieres. Angie and I got to see a preview of Overcomer at CPE before it hit the theatres two years ago.
That conference took place in the Poconos where I had the chance to help my publisher debut Dugout Devotions a couple weeks before it officially launched. A few months later, we attended CPE near Nashville to reveal First Down Devotions.
The idea behind this event is to give Christian retailers a look at what products are coming out for the spring.
My job is to talk with bookstore owners about my book and encourage them to place orders for their stores. I sign free copies for them to take home in hopes they will find them interesting enough to purchase to sell to their customers.
I have never understood the concept of signing my name to something or the whole game of autograph seekers. I have a few autographs myself, and people regularly ask me to get an autograph for them when I go into a locker room after a game. But I am not allowed to do that due to MLB and NFL rules.
I have seen “fans” knock over people to get an autograph.
A couple of years ago at the Super Bowl, a youngster pushed and shoved his way through a crowd so he could get to the elevator before it closed with his target onboard.
He got the autograph and made his way back to an adult who asked if he got the autograph. “I got it,” he said proudly. “Who was that by the way?”
When my boys were young, they stood by the dugouts at Cincinnati Reds games waiting for the opportunity to get a signature.
I have a few cool autographs in my office, and most of them were to commemorate an interview or an article I wrote. I think it’s more symbolic than anything — at least it is for me.
I don’t plan on parting with my memorabilia, but it’s always a topic of conversation when people visit our home.
But nonetheless, I’ll be heading down to North Carolina to sign about 100 copies of Dugout Devotions II: Inspirational Hits From MLB’s Best, which will release March 8.
I am honored and excited when I sign a copy of a book I wrote. And a part of me wonders, why in the world would anyone want my signature?
Did you also know there is a particular place to sign a book? Our cousin, who is an editor for a large publishing house in New York City, once showed me the proper way to sign a book, and I’m grateful for her autograph pointers.
But my biggest ever autographing honor came when Tim Tebow asked me to sign one of my books for him following an interview with him in Columbus.
That was special.
I am slowly getting used to signing my name, and I feel more comfortable doing it now. I also love it when my author friends sign their books for me. My collection is growing each time I attend a writer’s conference.
But at the end of the day, what is your name worth?
Is your name in good standing, or does it need a makeover with a Sharpie?
If you have a strong heritage, then your goal is to not mess it up.
· Be aware of your surroundings: Someone is always watching you, and your enemies would love nothing more than to see your name tarnished.
· Under-promise and overdeliver: Don’t ruin a good name by falling short of expectations. Live up to your good reputation.
· Hold yourself accountable: Hang out with a good crowd of people who won’t just be your buddies but will be true friends who encourage you to do the right thing.
And if your name needs some repair, there is still time.
· Ask God to show you how you have wronged others, and seek His guidance for how to begin the healing.
· Acknowledge what you have done, seek forgiveness from others for any hurt you may have caused, and ask God to forgive you as well.
· Look for scriptures that show you how to seek forgiveness and how to forgive others. Depend on God’s Word to show you the truth you need to rebuild trust.
I have done things I am not proud of, but I also hope I have made amends for wrongs I have committed. I face obstacles and temptations every day, but I know that if I want to keep signing my name, I cannot take my eyes off the prize. I must keep them focused on God who put me in this arena. I will do my best not to let others down.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.