baseball, poetry, and kim chi

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

trade or buy

I was talking with Sean the other day. He has two books out from Subday Press. I have bought one. I should have bought two. I will buy the second. My feet are dragging. So he got to (rightfully) scolding me for not buying his book. I like his work. I should have his book. Ok. So I say, “Why don’t we just trade books?” He likes my work, I like his work, this should be easy, especially since I have a book coming real soon. And since we are doing the Yahoo chat (By the way, don’t know if I like the chat. Rather like the longer pause of e-mail, but we both thought it would be fun and we both had time, so we did.), the response is quick, something along the lines of “why don’t we just buy each others.” No problem here, really. money goes to the publisher and money goes to the writer. Not much money, but some. It is good to support both. But… when I ask people to buy my book, I am really only asking them to read it. And with my close friends, and with those friends whose work I like, and with those friends whose work I like who also have a book, I would gladly trade. This thing is not about money. If it is, write something that will make it. A trade between authors whose work is reciprocally respected is so much cleaner, so much friendlier, I thought it was something we all agreed on. Maybe I was the only one at that meeting.

*all things in quote are from memory.


Blogger Sean Mac said...

Its tough. the trade works best between self-published authors. otherwise, it tends to forget the publishers need for money to pay off the old books and print up the new. Sean, I imagine, doesn't "own" any extra copies of his books anymore. I am sure he has given away all the ones Subday gives him, and kept 1 for himself. So, in a sense, that trade cuts out the already embattled small publisher. It feels like a dis if the author doesnt at least CONSIDER that it IS ALSO the publishers money and time and love that went into making their manuscript a book. what sours most in my experience is the authors who have traded or given away the books without so much as asking for our thoughts or input on the matter, or even bothering to tell us afterwards.

of course, if you ahve a different proceeds sharing arrangement with your press, than the matter may be different...

8:26 PM


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