Saturday, March 29, 2014

Freebies Are Nice, But...

A fellow writer's recent post on Facebook highlighted a situation that I encounter, not frequently, but with some regularity, and that's people requesting free copies of my books. Or, if not directly requesting, implying that a free copy is somehow expected. This usually isn't from close friends, since most of mine are informed (and classy) enough to realize that I am not sitting atop a huge stockpile of copies just waiting to disperse itself, without recompense, to the general public. No, usually it's an email from someone claiming to be a huge fan of my work but, due to one hardship or another, is unable to actually purchase my books, and wouldn't I feel truly great about providing them an autographed copy of my latest? And, hey, maybe they'll even review it! Or, if I can't provide a copy of the book itself, how about I just send a PDF? In a handful of cases, folks have wanted autographed photographs suitable for framing for their collections. Sometimes just an autograph on a piece of paper. Now, I suppose at one time as a fledgling writer I might have been honored beyond words to think that someone was actually fan enough of my work to want to read more of it, or was so enamored of my physique that they should like to gaze or even drool upon it at their leisure. When it comes to free books, sorry about your circumstances, but this is not how the business works. For one thing, it is poor economics. While I generally get a small number of free copies of my titles from publishers, I do not have an unlimited number to give out to the masses; most of those I do give out go to real reviewers the publisher might have missed or editors of "best of" anthologies. If I want more copies, I still have to pay for them. An alien concept to some, perhaps, but you must realize the publisher isn't in it only for the love, either.

These days, especially if someone requests an e-file of my work, the most likely reason is that it's to go on a pirate site. These things have proliferated in ways not unlike music sites in the relatively recent past. As for photos, lord knows, there's enough of me on the web to shock the world to its very foundation, and if you really want one, well, you just go look and find one that doesn't rupture your brain cells.

I don't usually attribute autograph requests to some nefarious identity theft scheme — not that such things don't happen, I'm sure — but when I receive one of these, I do request that the requester send me a self-addressed stamped envelope, which, really, is kind of the least you can do if you expect to receive something for nothing. Precious few SASEs actually follow.

I'm sure none of you reading this would exhibit any of the behaviors described above, so just indulge me a little venting here — right? — and all is good.

Right then.

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

I long ago got sick to death of people asking me for free copies of my books.

No just "no", but "HELL NO!".