Oh, come on…don’t be so freakin’ cheap!
A friend and fellow author recently posted a comment on the Writers Digest message boards, expressing her disappointment in friends who had offered support while she was writing her novels and excitement at their publication–yet refuse to buy a copy.
I have yet to meet an author who hasn’t found themselves in a similar situation. We’ve all had friends and family who think it’s wonderful when our books are published. They can’t wait for their FREE copy. Everybody wants to read it, but nobody wants to BUY it. Family members, even the most distant cousins, think blood connections mean free books. I even had to explain to my mother that I couldn’t give all of her friends free copies. No one in her family, to my knowledge, has ever bought even one of my sixteen novels (but then, I didn’t get along with most of them, so I’m really not all that surprised).
I’m not sure Dad’s side of the family even knew I was published, except for a couple of cousins.
Jesus said a prophet is respected everywhere but his own home. The same could be said of authors. When Chasing the Wind was published, my good friend Carolyn stopped by one day with a box of books to be signed for people at her church. At my own, I can count on the fingers of one hand those I know have read any of my books. Few will even acknowledge I’ve written them.
My pastor once suggested if I brought some copies to the church they would probably sell. It was kind of him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I didn’t think there would be enough interest.
Recently, one congregation member, an otherwise delightful woman, asked me about helping a friend of hers get published. Now whenever I mention my books, she always responds with some variation of, “Oh, one of these days I’ll find time to read.” But I’m supposed to make time for her friend. Gee, thanks.
We as published authors have heard all the excuses. With the rise of the e-book, the list now includes lack of an expensive e-reader or no time to download the FREE e-book reader apps for computers and smartphones.
No time? It only takes a minute, for crying out loud–and e-books are far less expensive than hardcovers.
Memo to friends and family of published authors: we don’t have an endless supply of free books to give to everyone who expects one. When I was working with traditional publishers, my contracts allowed me twenty-five free copies. I always bought more at cost, but most of them were for promotional purposes or were sent to my agent for our foreign publishers. I had very few to give as gifts.
In self-publishing, there’s no such thing as a free copy. We get print editions at cost and pay full price for e-books, just like everyone else. So give us a break. Support us. Buy a book!