Family Members Expect Free Books From Authors

Authors think of their a course in miracles as being like their children, and while authors can often be thick-skinned enough to deal with critics and reviewers they don’t know, they need to be toughest when it comes to dealing with criticism and responses from family members and friends. Just what should an author’s expectations be for support from those he or she knows?

Let’s face it. Publishing your book has been a top priority for you. You’ve spent a long time working on that book and now you’ve seen your dream brought to fulfillment. But remember, your dream is not Aunt Milly’s dream, or even your best friend’s dream. They might be happy for you, but your book is not a major event for them.

I’ll say up front that the best advice I can give you is to have no expectations concerning excitement or support from family and friends. Do not coerce people into reading your book, and don’t expect anyone to do anything to promote it. Let people know your book is being published and that now you have to figure out how to promote it; then if they offer help, take them up on the offer. If they don’t, don’t badger them. In the long run, you’ll have less hurt feelings and disappointment.

Here are a few considerations regarding dealing with family and friends and their reactions when your book is published. I’ve collected several of the examples from different authors I know.

Buying Your Book
One author I know tells me that when he told his best friend his book was going to be published and it would cost “$25.95” his friend replied, “That’s a pretty big burden to put on all your family and friends.” The author of course gave his best friend a free copy, but he also realized that the cost of giving free copies away was not going to help him any. He limited free copies to his parents, siblings, and a few friends who had previously read parts of the manuscript.

While several friends and family members bought this author’s book, he heard many others tell him, “I can’t afford it.” After watching those same people going out to eat and spending money on several other non-necessities, it’s clear to him that it’s not the price that keeps them away. They are just using the cost as an excuse when they simply have no desire to read his book. As authors, we have to remember that everyone is not a reader, and everyone may not be interested in the topics of our books. Bottom line: don’t expect people to buy your book.

Giving Away Books
If you really want people to read your book, you might decide that you will just give copies away to your family and friends-especially those people who “can’t afford it.”

I’ve heard many authors complain that they give copies of their books to people who never read the books. Even brothers, sisters, and parents don’t always read the book.

We have to remember that reading a book is a big time-commitment, but again, if people don’t read the book, or don’t express interest in reading it, there’s no point in giving books away.

One author I know has published several novels. He gave away quite a few the first time. By the third book, he had cut down the number he gave away to about just a half-dozen people. He found that the friends he no longer gave free books to did not even ask him for a free book-they simply were uninterested. He has also quit sending gifts when these people have babies or embark on their third marriages.

As for the “I can’t afford it” people, the best thing to do is to let them know they can check out the book at the library. I suspect most of them won’t.

People Reading Your Book
Believe it or not, more books get purchased than are ever read, by a huge percentage. Another author I know has a cousin who has bought all five of his books, but she’s never read a single one.

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