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November 16, 2010



Hear, hear!

I went to a signing not too long ago and a friend and I were discussing that we often find ourselves buying books we may never read because we like the authors *as people.*

The way I see it, even if you don't want the book for yourself, you can buy it to support the person and give it as a present to someone you think WILL like it who might otherwise never have heard of the author. Go out and create a fan.


I have 3 friends in the real world who are published authors and I have bought at least one copy of every one of their books. I will admit I haven't read every one of them (one is a fantasy writer and I simply cannot fathom all his other worlds and made up creatures and the other two are sort of romance/chick lit writers which are two genres guaranteed to make me gag) but I always buy 'em. Because to me it seems like a bloody hard way to earn a dollar and if you can't count on your friends to show a bit of moral support then the world is indeed a fairly ordinary place.

Since I started blogging I have expanded my support by buying books of those authors whose blogs I regularly visit and enjoy. It normally costs me a small fortune to ship the thing from the US or Europe but what the heck there are more important things than money.

I have actually wondered for a long time if it mattered - i.e. if my one purchase (or more if I can think of someone who would like the book as a gift) makes a difference to the author and I am glad to hear it does (though if it didn't I would still buy the books).

Jersey Jack

I think your author needs some new friends. She should chuck any who didn't buy her book (I bounced three pals) or have a darn good reason why. Family get some slack because (1) they NEVER think you really accomplished anything, and (2), they want whatever you do for free.

Gregory Luce

Thanks for this! My friends and family have mostly been very generous and supportive when it come to my two recently published poetry chapbooks. Good to be reminded I need to be prepared to do the same!

Lexi Revellian

Maybe I shouldn't comment, as I'm a self-published author - but I'm going to anyway.

I LOVE the fact that 734 strangers have bought my ebook this month so far on Amazon's UK Kindle Store; that's a true compliment to my writing.

I've had friends buy my book, but they are mostly my writing friends, some of whom I've not yet met. My sister has bought two copies of the paperback, though I'd have given them to her.

But my old friends from before I started writing? No; and my theory is that they fear the book will be terrible, and if they buy it they will have to read it, and then find something nice to say to me about it. I wouldn't have thought this would apply with a 'proper' mainstream book, though.


One reason going to conventions is expensive for me is that once I meet and like an author, I buy their books. We aren't even friends; many of them probably don't even remember me. But now their books are on my buy-on-sight list.


I think this very post needs to be in the daily newspaper or in Better Homes and Gardens or in the neighborhood newsletter, etc. instead of on a site read by mostly writers. The writers I know generously purchase other writers' books. It's the non-writer friends who hold back.


great blog post. i've experienced the same thing as a true crime author. look, i understand that some people don't want to read about a real-life murder but tell you what -- i always buy books of authors that i know, whether i intend to read them or not. i applaud you for saying out loud what i've thought for years. btw, one 'friend' once said to me, 'when are you going to write a real book?' after i'd published my third true-crime book. i never spoke to her again. i don't need thoughtless a-holes in my life. angry? you bet.

Icy Sedgwick

I can't agree enough with this. I made my first e-book available for the princely sum of 99c and hardly anyone I know who is not another writer has bought it. Some of my "friends" have even requested a free copy, purely because they know me in real life. A free copy of a 99c book? You're right, people happily support musicians, actors, and even artists, but for some reason writing still doesn't get the same level of respect.

terri tiffany

Totally agree!! I would want my friends to support me by buying my books! I hope they will:)


I've always had a special bookshelf for "Books by people I know". It was a glorious moment last week when I could finally put one there which was, at least partly, one of my own (an anthology where I'd written one story).

Terry Odell

Sounds all too familiar. My mom buys my books then lends them to all her friends. The rest of the family wants them for free. But with other authors, if it's reciprocity you're looking for, you're probably going to be disappointed.


I know as a self-published author I may be stepping in unwanted here--But in all honesty, it's the same experience. What books I've sold have not been to friends and family, they have been to strangers and acquaintances who have been very kind to my work. Even when I get positive reviews that I post on Facebook, the people I expected to congratulate me are dead silent.

I love supporting other authors and buy their books when they are available, even plug them openly. But sometimes that generosity happens in a void. None of my family members have passed the links along to *their* friends or made any effort to extend the marketing.

It's very frustrating, and sad to be able to see so easily who does and doesn't care about who you are at your core. My books are a paltry 99cents, and I've even given stuff away. Not one word from family or old friends. Only excuses and outright silence.

*sighs* When it comes to publishing and getting your books read, strangers are far kinder.

LC Evans

Most of my family members are pretty supportive. But I have to agree--when your family and friends don't care enough to read your book or even to congratulate you on your success, that hurts. It seems that everyone thinks they can write a book if they wanted to and so they don't value the book that you worked so hard on and they don't understand that you've put in hours learning your craft.

Dawn Kirby

I'm lucky enough to have supportive friends and family when it comes to reading my books. I'm not published as of yet, so that same support when buying remains to be seen. One point I can testify to is this: I recently had a book review done on the first novel in the series I'm currently writing. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst either. The fact that the reviewer had missed the whole point of the story wasn't what bothered me. It was the fact that only one of my friends commented on it. Keep in mind over 100 people have read and fallen in love with the characters. Not even my best friend, a woman who is probably more passionate than I am about my books couldn't even take the time to say even one thing about it. It hurt! I can understand your author's frustration. Writing is hard work. Anyone that can reach the point being published deserves to enjoy a pat on the back. It's not ego-stroking if it comes from a place of genuine pride. We all need that sometimes. Published or not.

Patricia Rockwell

As a newly published mystery author, I also thought my most ardent supporters would be family members--particularly my sister, because we are very close. I was wrong. She has not purchased my book nor shown any interest in reading it. Every once in a while, she asks if I've sold any books--expecting me to answer "no." I try hard to remain upbeat around her negativity, but she just represents the indifferent attitude that I experience from most of my family. The truly supportive people for me are my writing friends.

Gregory Mose

Very familiar, although I've done my best to badger people, and the close friends have mostly come through (some with flying colors, working their own networks to spread the word). My own theory is that it's social awkwardness that keeps people from reading friends' books - people don't read the book because they are terrified that they'll hate it and feel embarrassed. So instead they let their author friends squirm and wonder and assume the worst, rather than having the guts to read our books and risk thinking "oh, what do I say..." It's cowardice. Either way, it sucks. Read it, hate it, tell me you hate it! Fine. Just, you know, make the effort.


When I finished my first novel a few months ago I made copies for family members ($11 each) and sent them as gifts. I didn't even receive a thank you from any of my siblings. It's now been accepted for publication, and although I know they read my blog and I've had lots of encouragement and congratulations from strangers, my own family members have never even acknowledged that I wrote a book. It has really hurt.

Somehow I feel better knowing it's happened to other writers.

Mike Fook

I don't think any of my friends or family has ever bought a copy of one of my books.

I probably blew it when I mentioned, 12 years ago, that my first book would be titled, "God is an Asshole".

That pretty much scared everyone away. Nobody wants to read the antichrist's books! Go figure!

Since then I've had some more mellow titles, but all in all I don't think anyone in my family or circle of friends would ever enjoy reading one of my books - nor would they know anyone that wanted to read one of them. That's life. I'm fine with it.

Alas, this may all change, as my soon to be released, "Kicking Life's Ass!" is geared toward the masses.

Even my 70 year old mom might consider running her eyeballs across this one!

Jennifer Stewart

One and a half years later a friend passed this on to me. I love this post, it's absolutely brilliant and somehow it gave me hope. I love your honesty, it's so refreshing. I epublished a book a while ago and was so excited at the thought that at least my friends would buy. A few did, so I'm grateful for that, but most just said "congratulations!" It was awful, such a let down.


Amen! Its crazy. I have few friends who didn't even show up to my book launch. It was crazy. And knowing they were wrong, they tried sucking up. Why don't you suck up by forking over $10 bucks to show your support. Funny thing is, I don't really care if it sells or not.

I think there is a little jealousy...like, who the hell do I think I am? One friend told me to shut up and write already and when I did, she seemed to be shocked I followed through, maybe even a little annoyed.

But, ce la vie, eh!

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