Saturday, April 28, 2007
Can I have one?
This has come up many times in my life as an author and a few times here in the comments on this blog: people asking authors for (free) copies of their books.
I always feel awkward when this happens: saying "I have to buy the books, just like you" is not a sentence that comes easily. In fact I don't think I have ever said it. But the fact is that authors usually get ten (10) free copies and that's it.
If a stranger asks in email I can explain fairly gracefully....in person it's harder and if someone I know slightly offers to BUY a book from me (me, personally) I feel even more awkward! What I usually do in that case is give them one and ask them to buy one and give it to a school or a child they know...wimpy, I know! What do other people say?
My bravest (or rudest) moment in these situations: I remember when Blow Out the Moon first came out, the guy who owned the local grocery store asked me (several times, I might add) for a copy.....the question really annoyed me and I wondered what he would say if I asked for a free chicken or something. Needless to say I never did - though once when I did a (free) visit at a library, a private library for VERY RICH PEOPLE, and a child asked her mother to buy a book and the mother said no, I did say that the book cost less than a manicure.
I wish I could say that this rich mother with perfect nails instantly saw the error of her ways and bought a book on the spot....and, okay, fine, there are times in my life when I'd rather have a manicure than a book. But I'd never go into a nail salon and ask for a free manicure. Why do people think it's okay to ask authors for free books? Are books THAT worthless to the world at large?
PS The illustration is from the delightful THIS IS JUST TO SAY by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski and reviewed here by Elaine and on my personal blog, too.