Purchased a good book lately? What did you do with the book after you finished it? Perhaps you lent it to a friend, who will lend it to another. According to copyright laws, a book is sold subject to conditions. The book is not to be traded, lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise, without the publishers or authors prior consent, etcetera, etcetera. This law is broken every day by millions and is why you can find books in garage sales, sold on the internet, in second hand book shops and in the hands of those who havenít actually purchased them. As an author, I naturally want people to read my books, so in my personal opinion, I say AMEN to those who share books and even try to get some money back when finished with them!!!! I also commend those who donate books to the underprivileged and other causes. Think about it! If we stuck to the law, after purchasing a book, it would become nothing but a bookshelf ornament or thrown in the bin. Not only that, you would triple the illiteracy problem worldwide. Yes, thereís more to consider from censored and limited reading material to the imagination seen as demonic. History shows us how we can be controlled through reading and writing and it is still happening today. Another topic in itself.
New books are expensive and low incomes make leisure reading a luxury, many canít afford. One might say, Ďthatís why they have libraries Chrisí. However, not all literature is found in libraries nor will a library just purchase a book to please one person. Libraries not only have limited budgets but also regulations regarding reading material.
Yes, you can find millions of free books on the Internet from classics to great stories from modern day authors. Nonetheless, most agents and publishers donít want authors giving their books away and even many authors think giving a freebee not to their benefit. In addition, not everyone has or wants the Internet and some still prefer a real book in hand.
At their expense, authors send free books to editors of magazines and producers of TV shows hoping to get reviews or interviews, which in many cases, the author wonít even get a response to. Not only do authors lose the books, but also lose money in phone calls, writing materials, postage, time and confidence, considering what rejection and disappointment does to ones spirit.
Giving a freebee, in any format, will pay for itself a hundred fold if given to the right person and with the right heart attitude. Why waste your efforts on people who donít really want what youíre offering. Give freebees to READERS. Send an e-mail to a reader who loves the genre you write for. Make it clear you wish to give them a free book or download of your creation with no strings attached whatsoever and you will not contact them again unless asked to do so. Think about it, if you really like something you read and it was sent to you personally from the author, wouldnít you feel a little special, want to tell someone, perhaps even keep in contact with the author.
Having received freebees myself, I have without realizing it, diligently promoted both the author and their book. Do I feel manipulated, used or abused? Not at all!!! Not only did I receive a free book, which I enjoyed, but it cost me nothing to tell a friend and makes for great conversation. By word of mouth, others have purchased books Iíve recommended and continue to spread the word in their own way. Do I keep in contact with authors having sent me freebees? Some I do, some I donít.
What if you donít like the free book, you might ask. Again, authors donít lose out. I do give unwanted books to others, as not everyone shares the same tastes in literature to me. I do donate books to charity drives, school fates etc. I do put unwanted books into garages sales. What happens to these books, someone, somewhere will get enjoyment out of them and will promote it to others in their own way. As there where no strings attached in the first place, I donít feel guilty or obligated in any shape or form by passing them on.
Author reader relationships are rewarding and important. Devoted readers are genuine people, who not only truly like what an author writes, but also promotes the author without being asked or paid to do so. Some even start fan clubs, drawing attention to the author and their work, not because they have to but because they want to. As an author, I would gladly do what I could to support those who support me.
My dad had so many books that even after 3 garage sales we are still inundated with them. He read everything he purchased and the majority were from garage sales brought for very little money. If you think he had a crummy collection of tatty books, you thought wrong. He knew a bargain when he saw it, yet he was not purchasing books for re-sale value but for their content. In addition, he was so curios about everything, one would think his collection was straight from a library considering the variety of reading material. My dad could talk on so many subjects; people found him fascinating, wise, funny and a great conversationalist. He recommended many books and people went out of there way to get a copy for themselves or for others. An example of this, my dad often spoke of a book he read, which was lent to him in his early 20ís. He spoke with such passion about this book that in 2001, I went on a crusade to find the book so he could have a copy of his own. I thought this would be easy; I was mistaken but would I give up, no!!! Armed with only a title, bookshops were no help to me as it wasnít listed and no one had heard of it. Eventually, I found references to the book on the Internet, under antiques. Not being able to afford those up for sale, it took more searching to find the millionth reprint of a paperback version. And yes, my dad was impressed. The title of this book, ĎThe Honey Spikeí by Bryan MacMahon.
It is not the paid critics, not the bookstores, not the agents and publishers who authors should seek to impress or give credit for their success. It is those, who have your creation in hand. Those, who love and admire the work. Those people are readers, who purchase books, hold them in hand or download them to their computers. Readers should be given credit for supporting authors more so than agents and publishers, who make more money on an authors work than they do. This would horrify some authors and publishers that I would say this, however itís true . Readers purchase books and some are so dedicated they will spend hours clicking through pages on the Internet or line up for hours at a bookstore to get that new release or find that special book. Readers review books, the unpaid voices giving their time to air their thoughts of approval or disapproval of books to others they donít even know. Readers lend their purchases, spreading the word on books, which would never get a mention if it werenít for them. Readers encourage and inspire authors through fan clubs, mail, reviews, articles, conversation, where agents and publishers can crush your spirit with numerous rejections. Devoted readers will treasure your work, want your autograph, know you as a person and even see you as a mentor, where agents and publishers look for a name on a contract, that next best seller and think encouragement is telling you, Ďnot to give up your day jobí. Think Iím joking; ask J R Rowlings and other best selling authors who proved agents and publishes wrong.
Readers donít say they donít like a book for nothing; they have their reasons, just as those do who love a book and promote it. My eldest daughter is an avid reader and reviewer; even her favourite authors can sometimes disappoint her, yet this doesnít stop her from purchasing their new works. Sheís always looking for material to read and review, whether it be traditionally published or self-published, downloaded or on paper. Like her grandfather, it is the content she looks for and wonít hesitate to recommend what she likes to others.
I commend readers and admire their honesty when talking about or reviewing a story. We as authors donít have to take a bad review personally; the reader knows what they like and have the right to comment on a product theyíve tried. Good reviews or bad, it all draws attention to your book.
If this doesnít show authors that readers are more important to them than any agent and publisher then nothing will. I would also be asking myself, why I started writing in the first place. Was it a love for story telling or for fame and fortune? Either way, your book ends up in the hands of readers, who can make or break you. Just because you find an agent and publisher for your book, doesnít mean you are set for life.
Make a reader feel special, as they deserve this for what they give authors. Three cheers for the reader!!! Without you, there is no reason to write.