Copyright © 2022 by the John Dandola, Ltd. All rights reserved.
A Necessary Bluntness
"If it was easy, anybody could do it." — writer, producer Michael Mann
The statement above is an explanation about why you pay for talent.
I always try to be polite but politeness is often ignored and, unfortunately, talent seems too vague a subject for most people to grasp so I am forced to explain it in very blunt straightforward terms.
Writing is my job. It is my occupation. I get paid to write. It is how I earn my living. It is how my publisher recoups its costs to print and promote my books. I don't entertain readers of my mysteries for free. I don't impart knowledge through my histories for free. If my books don't sell, my contract with the publisher will end. It's a matter of economics. A publisher's profit and an author's royalties (salary) are based solely on the number of books sold.
Yet those I grew up with seem incapable of making such connections. To them, publishers just pay out money which falls from heaven and no accounting has to take place. To them, Amazon offers the only discounted pricing yet they don't realize that major publishing houses over-price books so that selling through the likes of Amazon can still reap a profit once discounted. My publisher sets a fair, honest, and reasonable price lower than the majors and that price isn't going to get cheaper—not ever; no matter how long you wait. And if you wait too long, the book is often sold out. Honesty should prevail but it rarely does. The buying public is used to being used so they try to dupe the vendor who is being fair.
In recent years, this has become intolerable as the phenomena has taken hold within my high school graduating class none of whom have I seen since I was seventeen years old! A book debuts. A long-ago friend, who is a reader, thinks it's a terrific thing and he posts an announcement on the class Facebook page that the book is available. Then the games begin.
There's the guy who expends more time and trouble (than he ever did for any high-school-related project) trying to borrow copies of my books rather than just buying any one of them. There's the woman who thinks it's her job to be a lending library by buying one copy then circulating it for free. She has no concept that what she's doing is akin to buying a movie ticket and then going into the theatre to open the fire exit so that ten of her friends can sneak in and deprive the theatre and the movie studio of revenues. There's the guy who I worked with one summer whose pension is larger than just about anyone else's but he can't bring himself to pay for a book so he seeks out the "lending librarian" who then sneaks him in the fire exit. This goes on and on ad nauseam.
I haven't had to prove my professional worth since college. I certainly don't have to prove it to former classmates. Because former classmates knew me as a teenager, they are not owed free copies of my books. You either buy my books or you don't. But you don't read them unless you buy them. The harm you are doing is more immense than you realize and the insult is monumental. If you're in a snit because I have finally and blatantly said this aloud, it at least hammers home the reason why you shouldn't maneuver to get any author's books for free—especially, an author you may have once-upon-a-time known personally.
Photo by Awesome Content at Pikwizard