Monday, May 22, 2006

Free Books!

Well, not so much. Today I will burst another bubble, I hope. But there's a good surprise at the end of this, I promise.

See, everybody thinks writers have huge stores of their books, which they are happy to pass out to everyone they meet. Sometimes, they are offended that you don't give them a free book.

What part of "I write for a living" do these people not understand?

You see, the publisher pays me for a story, I deliver it, they publish it, and expect to sell books, thereby recovering the money they paid me, paying their expenses, and maybe making a profit. This shouldn't be an obscure concept - it's the same one the grocery store and gas station operate under.

So why would I expect someone to buy a book if I gave it away for free? Frankly, I wouldn't. But I receive a very limited number of copies, and if I gave one to everyone who wanted one, I wouldn't have any left for myself. So I limit my give-aways. My parents always get an autographed copy, and my in-laws (who are some of my biggest fans, and how cool is that?).

Still, I am more generous than many writers. I keep a "loaner" copy at work, so friends can borrow it and read it. I donate copies to fund raisers. I love being able to put a book in someone's hands, and know that they will read it. Unfortunately, I still need to convince my publishers that I'm a good investment, and that people will buy my books, so I can't give them away. And they don't give me that many, anyway.

So, try to understand when your favorite writer expects you to buy his or her book. It's how they pay their bills, and support themselves while they write the next book.

But, just this once, I am going to give away a book. I have a copy of STRATEGIC RESERVE on my shelf that will go to the best comment posted in the next week or so. No strings, nothing to buy, no coupons to redeem, or forms to fill out. Just post a comment, if you want a shot at a free book. At the end of the month, I'll pick my favorite - yeah, it's completely subjective, but we writers have to get a few perks! - and mail you an autographed book.

C'mon, what have you got to lose?


GeminiWisdom said...

I probably shouldn't cuss--being a YA writer myself and all--BUT YOU WRITE BOOKS FOR ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS??!!!! That is too awesome. I've been a fan of the show from the first and hate to see it being cancelled, but you got to write two books. Two-friggin-cool. And I'm totally diggin' the cover for Strategic. Michael's a hottie. Hope to see him more in films.

(P.S. I found you thru your post on the teenchicklit forum. I'm a lurker there.)

Paty Jager said...

A comment... Well, I am in the throes of last edits on my first book to be published. My stomach is fluttering as I go over all the things I need to do promotion wise, and I'm nervous that once I get this baby published, no one will like it! How's that for a comment! I love the characters and hope that everyone who reads this falls in love with them as well. But don't all writers feel that way about their characters?

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hey there, Chris. Nice blog. :)

I'm going to show my ignorance here and ask how this book (and the new one) came about. I don't really watch much TV (don't whack me with a wet noodle, but I've never even scene Alias!), and I didn't know people wrote books based on TV characters until you told us about it at one of our meetings. Pretty cool concept. So was this something you approached your agent about? Was it her idea? How does it compare to writing a free-standing novel?

(I'm almost afraid to watch Alias in reruns. I did that with X-Files and then got addicted and had to watch every episode ever made.)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oh, geez. You can tell where my brain is...scene=seen. Yes, I can spell on a good day. LOL

Anonymous said...

My experience has been a little different so far--I've had people ask me if it would be better to buy the book from me or from amazon. But I've also given some away for fund raisers and contests.

Cheers, Dayle