A week ago, I mentioned to my friend Annie that my latest novel would be out soon. She asked if I meant to give her a copy. Now, it’s not the first time I’ve been asked that question. Not hardly. But this time, my patience faltered.
I said, “Come on, I have to spend a couple years writing the book, deal with the publisher and all, and spend countless hours marketing, and then I’m supposed to give the book away?”
She said, “Well . . . ”
Had I felt slightly ornerier, I would’ve asked, “Should I read it for you too?”
After she left, I wondered, if I were rich, would I give copies to all my friends? Maybe not. I mean, when author friends of mine have new books, I prefer to buy them, in honor of their accomplishment.
Then, yesterday, an email arrived: “Congratulations on your new book. I would buy one, but as you know, I don’t read.”
Not hardly the first time for that comment either. Once again, petulance overruled patience (maybe it’s the summer heat).
“Okay,” I wrote back, “but I’ll bet you know someone who does and who would enjoy the book and who would appreciate a gift. If not, you can certainly find a library or school or prison that gratefully accepts donations.”
If you are my friend and you don’t intend to buy a book of mine, please try not to let me know your intentions. And think about applying the same rule to your other author or artist friends. When their new creation comes out, remember, though we may act cool and strong, our feelings get hurt easily. If we were insensitive, we wouldn’t be able to create anything worthwhile. So when you mention not buying our book or whatever, what we hear is, “I don’t care enough about you or the pursuit to which you have devoted yourself to spend a few bucks unless it is somehow a direct benefit to me.”
Okay, now that’s out of my system, I’ll return to online marketing and occasionally pause to dream of the day when I’ll return to the world of my next novel. In that world, I feel safer, more at home, and usually more patient.