My dad always used to tell me that there's no such thing as a free lunch. If someone buys your lunch, they expect something in return. As an author, I wonder if there's no such thing as a free book. I will get twenty free books from my publisher. I will give some to family members, close friends, reviewers and some media people. Let's assume that there are ten free books, who do I give them to?
Now that I am married, I no longer try to use free books to pick up women. That's definitely a good thing, especially on a first date. On a second date, I once asked a woman what page she was up to. There was no third date.
I have given books to authors doing their own signings, but I don't think any of them have actually read them.
As a lawyer, I do give a few books to people in jail. There once was a book club in a felony pod, where one inmate read my book to her cellmates. She said that it helped them feel free if only for a minute. I wonder if it helped lower the recidivism rate.
Some people have asked me for free books, claiming to have Hollywood connections. I keep waiting to see Lindsay Lohan coming out of a nightclub reading a copy of my book on tmz.com.
A friend, of mine a teacher, manages to get a "media pass" to publishing events all over the country, even though she doesn't write reviews. At one book event, she grabbed several dozen signed books, and asked me to help carry them out to the parking lot. I don't know if she read the books, or then sold them on ebay? If you were one of the authors, and saw a personalized copy available on ebay, I'm sure you'd be angry. She is the reason I don't like giving out free
At a recent signing in Santa Fe, several well dressed people reeking with Santa Fe style, claimed that they would love to buy my book, but they were going through hard times. I gave them a discount. One woman then went out to her Range Rover after the signing.
But there are people who are genuine fans of my writing, that have supported me all these years.I do like helping them out with a book in return. If they do want to tell all their friends, relatives and contacts about the book, all the better.
Sometimes there can be such a thing as a free book...