Day 24 [New Year’s Resolution]: Stop Asking Indie Authors for Free Copies of Their Books
If you’re an indie writer, it’s highly unlikely that you’re swimming in riches right now. It’s likely that you have put a lot more money into your project(s) than you’ve gotten out of them. Maybe you attempted to get traditionally published and then self-published as a backup, or perhaps you decided to go indie from the start in order to maintain complete control over your work.
If you’re not an indie writer, then you might not realise the hard work, money, and time that is put into re-writes, editing, finding beta readers, more editing, book cover design, publishing, and marketing, not to mention the months or years put into writing the book in the first place.
If you know an indie writer, or you are a self-published writer yourself, you’ll know that it isn’t the easiest or most lucrative path to take. Writers write and publish for the love of writing, of creation, and the pride of having something that they made out in the real world.
If the writer has followed the 8 essential steps before publishing, then it isn’t unreasonable to assume that they have spent at least several months and several hundred dollars on getting it “out there.” Why, then are writers still being asked for a free copy?
People who know indie writers usually don’t take much interest in their books unless, perhaps, they are avid readers and the books are written in a genre that genuinely interests them. This is OK; after all, you can’t expect someone to read something of yours just because they know you.
An indie writer has put so much time and money into their work that being asked for a free copy is something of an insult. If you were involved in the book, as an editor, designer, or beta reader, then asking for a free copy is acceptable, but if you’ve shown no interest, how is it fair for you to suddenly ask for a free copy (and a free paperback, no less)?
To give you a free electronic copy, the writer has to send you the original document or convert it to PDF. In a lot of cases, they have to instruct you on how to get it onto your Kindle. Sometimes, people will want a free paperback, so the writer has to pay for the printing and shipping costs. That’s an awful lot of work for someone giving away a free copy of a product they made.
Imagine walking into an electronics store and asking for free stuff. Even if you know someone who works there, it is surely out of the question. A book, something that took the time, effort, and money of the writer, is a product, not just a hobby. Respect that.
If the writer offers you a free copy, by all means accept. Just do them a favour and actually read it. If you don’t plan on reading it, don’t take a free copy.
If you don’t want to support an author you know, then that’s your prerogative. But don’t ask for a free copy just for the sake of it. If you want to read their book, buy it!