Earlier this week C. Hope Clark (editor of Funds For Writers, and author of several books) posted on Facebook about buying books, not taking freebies. She’s posted stuff like this before, and she has a valid point. Publishers only pay Authors pennies on the dollar, so unless they are a big name like King, Rowling, or Patterson, they’re not getting a huge sum of money.
(And please don’t use this to argue in favor of self-publishing, because without the backing of a publishing company to distribute your books, you have to do that yourself. You won’t be able to get your books into more than a handful of bookstores, just those within a few miles of your or your family and friends, if even that, since some won’t take indie or self-published works.)
What Hope was actually saying is that as authors ourselves we should never deprive our fellow authors of money. We should never accept a free book, unless we give a review of that book. But that isn’t always easy to do.
I once accepted a free book that was so awful I never read past page 18, and I never did a review because I couldn’t get past the fact that I didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings. Unfortunately, she stopped talking to me after that. But really, I couldn’t finish it, how was I supposed to review it?
Then there’s the time I learned my niece had published a book. I went immediately to her site where she had a sample chapter available and read it, instantly learning it wasn’t my type of novel. It’s a fantasy. (Look it up. Fatal Heir by L.C. Ireland.) I also realized that it was well written, engaging, and possibly something Konnie would like, so I did two things. I pre-ordered the reader version of it (my niece deserves the money no matter what), and I contacted Konnie drawing her attention to the site. Within the hour, she also pre-ordered the book.
After Fatal Heir actually came out, there was a time when Konnie informed me that her youngest daughter had swiped her reader to read LC’s novel. I posted about this on Facebook because my niece (on my side of the family) swiped her mother’s reader to read a book written by niece (on my husband’s side of the family). It was funny at the time.
And while I do have the novel, I did buy it after all, I have never read more than that sample chapter. I know its excellent writing, and an intriguing story. It did almost draw me in, but I’m not much into fantasy. I keep telling myself I have read some, and I really should read it, it is after all my niece’s novel, maybe one day. Until then, whenever I learn someone likes fantasy, I mention LC’s book. It’s the least I can do, and word of mouth might not be a written review, but it is a review.
I also am poor, so buying a lot of books isn’t in the budget. I do buy, and I sometimes do buy new, I just bought a new Donald Maass book yesterday, but most of the time I go to the library. Some authors I like, I just can’t afford their books, even on a reader.
Maass I can afford, Francis I can’t. I go to the library to read Dick and or Felix Francis novels. And anyone who knows me knows I like their books. I talk about it all the time. Again, not a written review, but it is still word of mouth; I think it should still count. And I think the fact that I have mentioned this on Facebook a time or two should count too. Even if it isn’t an eloquent paragraph or two extolling all the virtues of their writing, it is still a review.
Don’t you agree?
Happy writing everyone. J