A Note to my Friends

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.



  1. SO agree with you, Ken! Hear, hear for putting into words what many of us feel when these circumstances hit. It seems writers will have to take it on themselves to set the world straight about how all this goes… 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on The Incredible Imaginings of Jeremy Hicks and commented:
    Sums up my feelings exactly. Can’t remember how many books I gave out initially for friends, family, and people who seemed genuinely interested in reading and reviewing our accomplishment, a hard won one with the level of competition for the limited slots available with a traditional publisher. How many actual sales did we make? How many actual reviews did we have posted to Goodreads and Amazon? Well, in the year since the publication of The Cycle of Ages Saga: Finders Keepers, not many. For those who have supported us, rather than making excuses for not doing so or actively working against us in our creative efforts, we thank you. You have our hearts and minds, for they are on each and every page of each and every creative endeavor we produce. You’re the ones who keep us going. With all our love, thanks!

  3. This is why it’s better to avoid letting friends and relatives know you’re writing at all, and keep communication with readers to a minimum. Just write, publish, and forget about it.

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