Monday, April 30, 2012

A Brief Rant

This is simple enough, and I think most any writer would feel the same way. This is in regards to your friends and acquaintances asking you for free copies of your books. First of all, whether a writer makes their living writing books or does it on the side, writers are not putting out all of this effort, at times their heart and soul, slashing their wrists and bleeding on pages so you can get something for free. There is the thought: "Well, they are my friend, so maybe I should give them a copy." I've done this and found, nine times out of ten, I've just lost a copy of one of my books, which I could have maybe taken and sold at a signing, or put up on Ebay or Amazon or whatever. The times I have given books away, my only request has been, "After you read it, would you please post a review on Amazon or B&N or somewhere?" I don't think that is an unreasonable request. After all, you worked hard, you put out all the effort, you spilled your blood or some equivalent. And on top of that, you gave it away. I have not given away a lot of copies of my books, but I can say that, out of my simple request to write a review of it (Amazon only requires a review be 22 words long), only the smallest handful (imagine a tiny shard of crystal in a handful of dirt) of friends have ever bothered to write one.

"Well, they are my friend, so maybe I should give them a copy."


They are your friends, and your friends are very supportive, or should be supportive. In other words, your friends should be buying your books, not mooching and getting them for free and then not bothering to give a damn with your simple request to help you out (this doesn't need to be a review, really, but you get the idea).

Many years ago I was at George R.R. Martin's house. It was the day his author copies of Game of Thrones arrived. There were several boxes of them. I've known George my whole life and consider him a pretty good friend. I asked him if I might have a copy. He told me I could buy one. I was young and, at the time, a bit miffed. I get it now.

This is a long way of saying don't ask me for a free copy of one of my books. If by chance you do get one from me for free and I ask you to write a review or whatever, write a fucking review. This is how I pay my debts and bills and keep my phone on, and every sale is important.



  1. Dead right. It's simple respect. If they offer to buy one and *you* choose to make a gift oif it, that's another matter.


  2. Exactly. I was just going to say, if I give a friend a copy as a gift, that is something completely different.

  3. Holy shot, I would NEVER ask a writer for a free copy! That's rude and inconsiderate.


  4. I wouldn't ask a friend who owned a boutique to give me free dresses, or a restaurateur to feed me for free, ditto books. Ditto laywyer friend, plumber friend. People shouldn't ASK for freebies (well, unless there's a dire need to). If a writer pal wants to give me a pdf or a hard copy, thank you, so nice. But I won't ASK for a free book.

    Interestingly, I did recently get a free e-copy of a book by a writer pal. I then went and BOUGHT a copy. To show my SUPPORT. I've done this more than once (got something free, went and bought a copy), cause it's my way of saying, "You did a great job!" And I left an Amazon review. :D

  5. Right! You let me read a pdf. of one of your pieces and I enjoyed it. When it came out on Kindle, I bought the Kindle version because that's just what you do! I'm waiting for some scholarship money so I can pick up the print versions of your work.

  6. To be honest, I've been offered several free books from a number of authors I chat with. I've turned everyone of them down. Usually, I am about to (or in the process of) buying it anyway, and it just seems supremely dickish of me to try and undercut their very means of survival... even if they only get 90 cents from the sale (or whatever). What has bugged me in the past is when people call an author cheap because they won't hand out books. I've seen it happen, and it's asinine.

    If a friend of mine worked at a Texaco, and I went in and said "Good Afternoon, friend who only exists in this example, please to be giving me three packs of smokes and a case of beer. And some pork rinds. Pork rinds are fucking awesome." and he told me to suck it, the last thing I wold do is go to other pretend friends and rag on the cashier dude.