Here we poke, disturbingly, behind the grotty scenes of a romance author’s blog, and ask this question:
“Courtney, where do you get the books that you give away?”
Good question. Sometimes when you see a book being given away on a blog, the truth is that the source of the book is either the author or the publisher. Authors receive a number of free copies of her book–I get 48, which is enough to fill a box that if dropped at precisely the wrong angle, could break your toe. We could leave these books on our shelves to look pretty, but (a) all our shelves are already full with books written by other people; and (b) they don’t do any good sitting on our own shelves, because an author is not precisely her target market (Although, admission: I bought a shocking number of copies of my own book–which makes no economic sense at all).
Despite this, as a general rule, I buy every book I give away. (The only exception to this was Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband; of the two copies I gave away, Sherry bought one copy and I bought the other.) I do this for two reasons:
1. I want to support other authors who I think write cool books.
2. If I’m talking about a book, by implication I think it is worth spending money on. It’s a way of keeping me honest: As a romance author, the prevailing community norm is that authors don’t talk critically about other books. So how can you trust that I mean it when I say I like a book? And that’s easy: you can trust me because I’m willing to put my own money–for the book and postage–on the line.
The only books I (probably) haven’t paid for are my own–my publisher gives me free copies–and even then that’s not guaranteed, because as I mentioned earlier, in defiance of all economic rationality, I buy my own book. Often.
Disclaimer to this antidisclaimer: I am writing this post because three separate people e-mailed me and said, “Oh, you’re giving away a copy of my book! Let me give you one of my author copies!” To these very nice offers, I said, “Pfft.”