Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Author Signatures for Yahoo Groups

Sign Here, Please.

Which of the following is the point of a signature?

1. To identify you
2. To reinforce your brand
3. To create interest in your work
4. Drive traffic to your site
5. Sell your books
6. All of the above

If you answered 6 - you're right, but identification - item #1 - is the key to accomplishing the rest. Your name is vital. Your author name. If you write as Mary Jo Smithe, sign as Mary Jo Smithe.
You are your author name when you are on Yahoo groups. If you don't use a pen name, then it doesn't matter. Or does it? If you use a non-writing-oriented email to post messages, it might be costing you readers. For example, if you sign your posts with only "Mary" but your email address says "BobbysMom2012" - how is anyone supposed to find that wonderful book you just told them about? If they hop over to Amazon and search for Mary BobbysMom2012 -- are you going to show up? Sign with your author name - Mary Jo Smithe.

Do you need a signature for every email? That depends. Are you posting as an author? Do you hope this post will accomplish the items listed above? Then you must post as a professional. Sign your emails. It is not hubris to identify yourself. You are there to accomplish a purpose.

What belongs in your signature?

At a minimum, your name and website. If you have a brand or tag for your writing, don't be afraid to use it. I sign everything with my name, my tag (unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, unforgettable passion), and a link to whatever website(s) pertain to the message.

What does "pertain to the message" mean? If I'm replying to a question about blogging, I use my blog url. If it's about Twitter, I use that one. In most cases, I include my website's home page, my Twitter account, and my company's site, The Author's Secret. I have a signature page on hand with all the pertient links available, which makes it easy to click/drag the info into my message as needed.

What shouldn't you include? 

It depends on where you're posting. On some Yahoo groups, be aware images might not translate well. A group that disallows embedded images might turn your embedded cover into 3-4 inches of white space.

Multiple colors in your signature can be hard to read. Some people are color blind and cannot differentiate various shades. To them, your list of books might go from looking like this:

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 

to words run together like this:
Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4

Likewise, using embedded links and substituting the site name can give you more room, but if you write your signature as:

readers who receive their messages as text see: 
Twitter Facebook

How long is long enough? 

If you are posting to a Yahoo group, you are limited to what the group allows. Read the rules. If you post regularly to a group that permits only three lines, create one you use for that group. In general - you are safe with three lines that are short enough not to wrap around and start accidentally making a fourth line. I use the one below for most situations.

Kayelle Allen
Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion  ~  ~

If I'm promoting a new book, and I'm on a group that allows longer signatures, I've found one like this is effective:
Kayelle Allen
Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion
Surrender Love  |  Not rebound, payback, loneliness, or great sex, and far beyond love. This is surrender.
Loose Id:  |  Kindle:

It's better to err on the side of caution. If you are banned or placed on moderation for violating rules, you can't accomplish your goal.

How long is too long?

How many times have you seen signatures that seem to go on forever? They include lists of every book the author has written, where it's been reviewed, the various places you can buy it, mini-images of the book, a banner... 

Simple is better. Follow the rules of the group where you're posting.
Signature, please...

Okay, so what's the best signature?

Your author name
Your brand, book name, or book tag
Your website, Your blog, Your Twitter/Facebook

Less is more. You want to identify yourself, reinforce your brand, create interest in your work, drive traffic to your site, and sell your books. To do this, be professional. Using a signature that underscores this message will help you accomplish that.

What other questions do you have regarding signatures for a Yahoo group?

Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, a Yahoo group focused on learning marketing and publicity. 
Group site:


  1. All good points. Nora Roberts says she wishes now that she'd never invented JD Robb. Too much promoting. Although it separated her mystery persona from her romance persona.

    I use my middle name because it's not only mine, but it is a famous, recognizable name: Mignion E.; Richard E., and my grandfther Adolph Olson Eberhart, gov. of MN 1909-1915.

    1. I'll bet she does - but you do know instantly what style of book you'll get with JD Robb vs Nora Roberts. I'm a big JD fan. ^_^ When you can capitalize on a name, go for it!

  2. Too long? Oh yes, guilty of that here. I have taken off some of my links and keep the main ones


    1. Good for you, Dawne! I've learned a lot over the years about what's effective and what's showy. ;o Wish I'd known these things earlier. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I've shortened my signature for this very reason. I also made sure my sign on for blogger has my first and last names.


    1. Good point. We forget about email and if we have two - Yahoo and Gmail or a web domain email, we need to make all of them consistent. Thanks, Janice.

  4. Thank you for posting this Kayelle. I agree that impact signatures include an author's name, tag line and website. Most people scan through emails and anything beyond three lines does risk getting ignored so instead of highlighting the signature, it is diluted in the mass of info given.

    1. So true. If a signature has active links to click, it gets more action, too. My manta - less is more - has helped me stay fresh and have relevant information. Thank you, Karen.

  5. I use Wise Stamp for links to my blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and book trailers. It allows me to create icons at the bottom of my signature. But just in case I'm posting to a place that does not allow images, my website and the buy link for my latest book are both regular links. So, I use my name, website, book title and buy link, tag-line and icons. I fear my tag line may wrap around and make too many lines, but until I come up with a brand for my name, I'm making do. I'm pasting my signature here and hopefully it'll show up.

    Rochelle Weber, Website
    Rock Crazy, MuseItUp Publishing Best Seller Buy Link
    Abandoned, pregnant and bi-polar, Katie McGowan's going crazy on that God-forsaken rock, the Moon!
    Blogger Blogger Facebook Twitter Amazon YouTube YouTube

    Well, it didn't show the icons, but that's what the bottom line would be.

    I sometimes get tired of using my entire signature when I'm making multiple comments on the same group. I tend to save promo e-mails for the weekend and then I end up with four or five comments in a row on some groups like MFRW or my publisher's reader group. It seems redundant by the third post in a row. I figure people have read all that by then. At the very least, I drop my last name--but only after I've sent a few posts through with my full signature.

    1. Good point Rochelle. The different formats make some things incompatible. What looks great in an email might not show up in a blog and vice versa. I notice that in the comments, most of the time links don't work -- depending on the blog, of course. Thank you for dropping by to share ideas.

  6. Kayelle,

    Thanks for giving my mind a workout. I'm new to all this social media and never gave my signature much thought. Now I am very aware and checking out how other authors do it.



    1. You're welcome, RJ. You learn as you go... I worked as an administrative assistant for many years and knew my signature had to give me credibility if I wanted people to respond to requests I made on behalf of my boss. When I started writing, I realized my emails and messages had to do the same type of thing. I was representing my business and books. Over the years, I've changed what I do, and how I do it, but the bottom line is the same: identify yourself so people can find your work. If you keep that in mind, you'll be good. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Thank you for such great tips. I'm new and I will make sure to create a great signature. :)

    1. You're welcome, PT! Good luck on putting one together. Come by the group to share it when you're ready and we'll let you know how it looks. Just post that you're testing a new signature, and members will chime in with responses.

  8. Good post and good advice. When I first published in 2007 I had a pen name. I also went crazy with my signature lines. I was afraid I'd miss a chance to promote somehow if I didn't include everything. Then when I re-branded in 2009, I started over, from scratch, and remembered something my oldest sister told me as a kid, "Keep it simple." She's a big fan of things not being overly complicated. I tried to carry that into my new signature lines. I tinker with it from time to time now, trying to get just the right mix and to keep it fresh, but I try to remember that I don't like to read anything more than three or four lines. Plus, I get tired of typing more than that! :)

    BC Brown ~ Paranormal, Mystery, Romance, Fantasy
    "Because Weird is Good." ~ ~