professornana (professornana) wrote,

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It is an odd request we get from time to time. An email will ask if we could send off a copy of our books. I am not using the royal "we" here; I know that authors receive these requests on a regular basis. I can only imagine how often well-known children's and YA authors receive these requests. But even the occasional one I receive makes me pause.

Yes, I can order some copies of my books and give them to people who write me with requests. I pay for the books; I pay for the postage to mail it off. But the fact is, it takes money for me to do this. You see, this is some sort of misunderstanding about how authors get paid and how many books we receive free of charge. I know it will differ from publisher to publisher, so let me give you my own experience here. When I finish a book, I am generally asked about who should get some copies from the publisher. Who might spread the word about the book? Who might find a use for the book? I get some copies as well. I share those with colleagues and friends and family. After that initial spate, any books I want to give have to be purchased.

So if you ask me for a free book, please bear in mind that it is not free except for you perhaps. I am happy to donate the occasional book. I share the books I receive from publishers with others as well (mailed a box to a new teacher yesterday as a matter of fact) especially with students on our campus and in my classes. If I drive to a speaking engagement, I bring along as many books as I can fit into the car to give away. I love being able to put books in new hands.

At the end of January, I will take some books along to TCTELA where I am speaking. They will be given away at the exhibit booth our department will have. I hope anyone attending the conference will come by and pick up a free book. And I hope that any book someone picks up will also find its way into the hands of students as well.
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