Saturday, June 19, 2010

Free books (and exposure!)

Lynn Price's blog had a post about people who ask writers for freebie copies, inspired by a post on The Intern. The comments section for the latter has many suggestions on what to do if you can't afford a copy but would really like to read the book nevertheless, so it's worth checking out.

Only one person I know has asked me for a free copy of my book when it comes out in print. But that was puzzling enough because the lady who asked for it is, well, rich. I used to work in a very upper-class school in Dubai and she had two kids there, so that was how we met. Her husband is a senior executive in a company. So I'm not sure why she'd ask for a free copy.

If she was broke, I'd happily give her one, but... she's not.

Maybe she was joking. I'd like to think she was. Then again, when I ran into visa problems back in Dubai, she offered to sponsor me. As her maid.

If you have a book in print, has anyone asked you for a free copy? How did you handle it?

And in breaking news today : Promotion expert Maria Zannini is running a blog shout out contest. Participation has never been so easy. Just email her a link to your blog with a brief description of what you like to discuss, and you're entered into the drawing for a prize.

It's open until July 2nd, so be sure you enter the contest! All the cool kids are doing it. And so am I.


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks for mentioning the contest, Marian! And thanks for entering.

My goal is to introduce as many people as possible to new blogs.

Maria Zannini said...

I meant to answer your first question too.

I get a LOT of requests for free books. Many people are under the assumption that the publisher showers us with freebies, which we both know is far from the truth.

Most books come from our pockets. When someone offers me a free book, I am honored by the gift.

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks for the link to Maria Zannini's blog. I've popped over there to join in.

Barbara Martin said...

Thanks, Marian, of advising readers of Maria's contest.

As for free books I rarely ask for one as I get ARDs from publishrtd, agents or marketing companies.

Abby said...

I've never written a book, or been in the process of writing one (blogger/freelancer here). But if someone just came up to me and asked me for a free book... I probably would feel strange. I'm not a bookshop, after all. I'd probably give a few copies to very very special friends (who shouldn't have to ask anyway)

Abby said...

oops, forgot my link. Btw, I've been reading a lot of the PA threads lately. *shakes head* wow.

LM Preston said...

Yep, I've had people ask me for a free book - and I give it to them under the condition that they write a review. Now with that said - only one person has come through on that agreement.

Elizabeth Bramwell said...

Thanks for the link to Maria Zannini's blog, I'm heading on over to join in a mo.

I've actually won a couple of free books off of writerly friends through web contests, etc, but i would never just come out and ask them for a copy. When I'm doing interviews for The Literary Project I sometimes get offered free books, which is very nice, but then that is up to the author, not me, and to be honest I think it is of more benefit to the writer if they give them away in a blog competition instead of to me.

Diandra said...

The only thing people ever asked from me so far was that I'd let them read the things I have written (and published - which, in one case, still leaves me with a lot of work because my father does not understand any English and I will translate some stories for him).

I think free books coming from the author should be gifts, not exclusively donations to poor people.

Marian Perera said...

Maria : I worked up the nerve to ask for extra copies for promotional purposes, and although I got them, just asking was kind of stressful. Guess I'm not a natural negotiator.

I don't think I'll be scattering those copies like confetti upon requesters any time soon.

fairyhedgehog : Good. :) The more the merrier.

Barbara : Obtaining ARCs or free copies from publishers/publicists is a great alternative to making requests than an author might find difficult to refuse.

Abby : You ain't kiddin'. I decided to read the entire Old NEPAT over the summer. It's amazing. So many of the problems writers face with PA now were present in 2004 as well.

And I agree about giving books to close friends. IMO, if a friend needs to ask me for a book, we're not that close.

LM Preston : I agree, if they're asking for the book it would be fair to give you a review. It makes me a bit relieved that my extended family in Sri Lanka no longer has much to do with me, because they would have wanted free copies - and then would have been too scandalized to write reviews.

Gemma : Thanks for mentioning the Literary Project. Something for me to look into. :)

Diandra : I don't even think many people asking for free copies are poor. After all, it's a book - chances are it's not going to break the bank, and saving up to buy it for Christmas or a special occasion is always an option.