Since #tnks is amongst the biggest things that I have done in life, I often talk about it to friends and strangers. And when I do that, invariably, I am expected to cough up a free, autographed copy of the book.
And ladies and gents, to put on record, it is pissing off!
I have nothing against signing the book. Or free copies. Just that I expect friends, acquaintances, clients, and colleagues to “buy” the book and help me! Free copies are meant for those who expect a favor (exchange, barter etc). And for those who are used to getting freebies (journalists, reviewers etc). Not friends!
You know when you “buy” a book, you contribute to the sales of the book. That pushes the book a tad higher in rankings. And that in turn pushes the publisher for the next print run. Both these things give immense confidence to writers, especially the first-timers like me.
More than confidence, it makes the writer grow balls to work on the next one (if he’s in it for the long run, like I am!). And may be negotiate better terms with the publisher (who often is very cocky and is used to getting his way with authors). Or get an advance (which is unheard of, for non-celebrity authors). Or may be secure a larger print run (which is like a wet-dream on starry night). And so on and so forth.
The funny thing is that the book is really cheap. At a selling price of about 100 bucks, the book is probably cheaper than a coffee at your favorite coffee shop or a meal at a mediocre restaurant or a movie at the most rundown cinema hall or a piece of garment that you wont even wear the second time around. If you’re telling me that you can’t spend 100 bucks to support a friend, who’s trying chase the most cherished goal of his life, God help you! And your friendship. And the friend.
To be honest, the ones who ask for free copies are not to be blamed. There are a few things that we just don’t “get” culturally (as Indians). Like music. It has to be downloaded for free from songs.pk (or some other combination of songs and pk). Or dhaniya and pudhina that has to come for free with any subzi you may buy.
Similarly we expect books to be free. Especially if they are written by friends. No?
In fact I was like you till about 2012! When Suds wrote The Lost Story, I asked him for a free copy and I refused to buy it, till Divya put some sense into me and ordered a copy on my behalf. Thanks Divya. I now know what you meant. And thanks Suds for not giving me a copy for free.
And to everyone who’s been asking for a free copy, you know, you can still buy the book. Its available on Amazon and Flipkart. And hopefully, at a bookstore near you. It’s still not on any bestseller list and every copy sold contributes to that. Which helps me as a writer.
Author, The Nidhi Kapoor Story
P.S.: And no, not everyone asked me for a free copy. Some friends did buy it. Some actually bought multiple copies and gave extra copies away to their friends. Ankit, Gaurav and Parijat even supported my crowdsourcing campaign to raise money for a promotion tour. Thank you guys. Your support means a lot. Onwards to my next book!
True. I agree with you.