Monday, March 28, 2011

Support Your Local Authors


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!



31 comments:

  1. Loved reading this. So true. Most of my relatives want freebies too!

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  2. Or, how about, like my family other than my husband and two of my daugters, no one will read my stuff. They honestly believe I'll never be published. OMG.

    Anyway, I've got a list of things to read. Reading Robb's Stranger on the Bus. Next, I'm reading a book one of my hair client's wrote about couponing, bought that one for twenty dollars. After that, I'm going to download a Kindle app so I can read Beth's,Lorelie's, Yours, Williams and a list of others.

    Decided against an I-Phone for now.

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  3. Shelly, you're going to be busy--but that's a good kind of busy!

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  4. Well said! Bravo!

    I think the problem is with so many of our family and friends, that sort of thing, that they look on it as a mere hobby, rather then as something we think of as a profession, indeed, as a calling.

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  5. When you're right, you're right. I just ordered three books by Norma Beishir on Amazon. I will try to make time to read them. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to have a book on Amazon....

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  6. Well thank you Shelly...and I have no doubt you'll have a book on Amazon too!

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  7. I guess you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink. You can tell people that it's so super-easy to download a free app, but, then you get the complaint of having to read it on their phone, computer or Blackberry. All we can do, is let everyone know when the book has come out, and hope for the best.

    You are a wonderful writer, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise...

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  8. William, that's a good point, too...everyone tells me how proud they are of me, but I know only my sister (of my family and friends here) that has bought them. The rest, well, it's a crap-shoot...I might be able to say yes to some, but I'm going to take the low road, and say, not too many of them have. In one month, I sold 15 copies of "The Bracelet", and one of them was to me. LOL

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  9. I have paperback editions available...but not for $2.99. And then there are the used copies of my past books, for which I get NO royalties. That's why I'm going to re-release them all as e-books!

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  10. I'm not Shelly. But you are welcome. I'm Eve.

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  11. It's been a long day, Eve. I was bitten by a mosquito which cause my eyelid to swell and looked really gross.

    But I got it right when I told William....

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  12. I guess I'm lucky. I doubt my mom would even let me give her a free book when it's finally finished. She is supportive to the point of embarrasing! The rest of my friends and family hound me to finish so they can read it (it's safe to assume they have NO intenetion of paying).
    I want to buy all of your books (norma, william, shelly, beth, etc.), but honestly it gets hard to keep track of who has one out and who doesn't on WD. I need a direct specific link, like "Click here to buy now!"
    and Norma, I can't ever decide which one of yours to get. Suggest one you'd think I'll like best and I'll buy it, baby!

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  13. We should have a group at WD where we can post our available books.

    Christina, if you have an e-reader or the app for Kindle or Nook on your PC, e-books are the best deal. If not, I'd say start with the paperback edition of Final Hours. It's less expensive than Chasing the Wind. If you take a look at the book covers at the bottom of this page, clicking on them will take you to their Amazon product pages.

    Beth and Christy Parks have e-books available, too.

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  14. I definitely prefer paperback since I don't have an ereader...I get migraines so when I'm reading to relax, the last thing I want to do is look at a computer screen. Gosh and I didn't even realize those huge covers were down there. Norma, Norma, Norma...get smaller versions of those up at the top of your sidebar! And title or caption them "Click to buy"!!!

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  15. And here, my friends, is the REAL secret to success. We sell our books to each other!

    PS Thanks for the advice, Christina!

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  16. Excellent blog, Norma. And it is so true.

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  17. Lol! I just bought it!
    And you're welcome. I studied PR, advertising and media writing in college (and opened a business at 20) so anytime you guys have branding/marketing questions, don't hesitate to ask!

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  18. I worked at a major advertising agency for three years before I sold my first book. Nothing like Mad Men. Crazier.

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  19. That's a great idea, Norma...! Start one on WD...! It might give us all a bit of exposure!!!

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  20. I read a rant by an agent a while back. One of her authors admitted that she didn't even let her family know when she was releasing a new book. It was too painful for her when none of her family or friends would buy the book. Step up to the plate, people!

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  21. I've had dozens of people tell me to my face that they want a copy of Storm Chaser ... and I've been afraid to ask if they understand that they have to actually pay for it ...

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  22. Wonderful post, I can't tell you how many times people have said to me they cant wait for their FREE signed copy of Ancestors & Angels.
    To be fair, as it's a true story I have given away a lot to anyone who is in it friend and family wise, but in some respects this has actually paid off, for example my kids have come back with loads of requests from their college and uni pals, and these youngsters are so enthusiastic they are all out there advertising me through all their social networks and handing out fliers etc, I'm so touched by their enthusiasm!
    But what is a real thrill, is when I've been approached by a complete stranger who has seen something about my book on someone elses site and got so excited they wanted to find out for themselves.
    So in the long run, I don't mind giving a few away, but it does make me chuckle, because clearly so many folk think we write books purely for the fun of it, they forget authors need to eat too!

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  23. Karla: I've heard variations of that story often. It sucks.

    Mark: "I want a copy" usually means "I want you to GIVE me a copy. Free."

    Jane: Giveaways can be very good for sales, as in the situation you've described. Publishers often do giveaways to generate interest in an author. But it's still unreasonable for everyone who ever knew you to expect a freebie. If your sister worked at a bank, you couldn't get free money from her. If your cousin worked at a convenience store, you couldn't fill up your gas tank without paying.

    William has it right. Even those closest to us see our writing as a hobby, not as the way we earn a living.

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  24. Okay, everyone...start looking for "Bragging Rights" on WD later today. It's going to be an open group. Anyone with a book to plug, past, present or future, is welcome!

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  25. Hopefully that doesn't include ebola man...LOL I don't think any of us want to see him there...LOL

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  26. William and I have agreed that if he shows up, he will be kicked out immediately.

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  27. You know you've made it as a writer when your friends and family are the only ones in the whole wide world who still have not bought your book. According to Luke came out on March 29 - day before yesterday, and the sales I bet (if I could see them) were by total strangers. I got sent virtual bouquets and virtual champagne by people I don't know from a bar of soap... and do you think any family said congratulations, except my immediate husband and kids? Nope. And many of them speak to me on Facebook all the time - but not about this taboo subject: my books!!
    Dan Brown has the same problem, I hope.

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  28. I'm going to make my entire family pay for books, if I ever get published. They owe me for all the years of thesis and paper editing!

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