by G.M. Malliet
An author with a book due out begins to divide the world into two categories of people.
The first category will say, when you tell them about your book, "That's great! When and where can I buy it?" One friend of mine was actually sensitive enough to ask, "Where should I buy it so you get the bigger royalty? Online or in the stores?" These people are going straight to author's heaven.
The second category of person (and this is rare, fortunately) will say, when you tell them you have a book coming out: "That's great! When do I get my free copy?" While you are tempted to think they're kidding - they must be kidding - they're not.
Now, think about it. Would you ask me to paint your house for free? Alter your jacket? Wash your dog? But writing a book also involves actual labor, possibly spanning many years.
I'm still working on a snappy comeback to this. After all, I think this request for a free book has everything to do with ignorance of the writing biz and nothing to do with greed. I think the request is even meant to be flattering ("I am curious to read your book, just not curious enough to pay for it" may be the subtext). But the fact is, I would rather take $14 out of my purse and set fire to it than give my work away - to treat it as something of no value.
The belief that authors receive all the free copies of their books they want may play into this. But MI authors get only ten copies of their books, and mine are long since ear-marked for people who, like, saved me from drowning. I got ONE free copy from the publisher of an anthology in which my short story appeared.
It's a simple equation: Books cost money. Selling books is how authors pay the bills. Please don't ever ask an author for a free copy of his/her book.
And don't even think about asking to borrow the book so you can read it.
Thank you. The rant has ended; go in peace.