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An Author’s Giveaways: of Time and Books

25 March 2016

From author Elizabeth Spann Craig:

I realized some time back that I get a lot of requests to do things for free.  I’m frequently asked to donate books to charities and to speak at libraries, schools, and conferences for free. I’m asked to beta test software. Asked to give an opinion, help with a blurb, and have my brain picked.

A little over a year ago, I realized that some things figured into my business philosophy or manifesto.  Some things didn’t.

It used to be much harder for me to turn down opportunities.  Part of me thought that if I didn’t accept, opportunities might dry up.  Part of me thought that any exposure for me or my books was always good, when sometimes it wasn’t worth it.

For a while, I drove hours for the opportunity to sell a couple of books (or no books at all).  Maybe I was flattered by being asked, I’m not sure.

Once I drove 7 hours round-trip to speak at a library.  I love libraries.  But I wasn’t compensated for my mileage and my displayed books were all available for the patrons to check out (which they did).  But you can’t blame the library for asking–I blame myself for losing money and having to rearrange carpools to attend a far-flung event.

Now I find it helps to have some ready responses to reject an invitation. Once I’ve considered an opportunity and decided to skip it, my go-to rejection for speaking is: I wish I could, but I’m completely booked up.  Which is pretty much the truth anyway.

I’m being offered a lot more paying speaking gigs, or being offered transportation money, free meals, and hotel rooms.  If an invite doesn’t address payment, it’s a bad sign.

. . . .

Although this post focuses on setting boundaries in giving our time and books away for free, we also need to carefully consider our paid opportunities and make sure they align with our overall business goals. If the writing course we’re asked to teach or the panel appearance in another state, or the pitch for a nonfiction project doesn’t fit in with our business goals, we should consider rejecting it.

Link to the rest at Elizabeth Spann Craig

Here’s a link to Elizabeth Spann Craig’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.


4 Comments to “An Author’s Giveaways: of Time and Books”

  1. I’m all ready to give them my answer – my hourly rate (you don’t want to know).

    No one has asked me yet, but I’m ready.

    I love her answer, ‘I wish I could, but I’m completely booked up.’ Two lies, concatenated with a smile and an air of regret. The woman’s a writer.

    • No lie there, she still needs time to do that ‘writing’ thingy, which she won’t have as much time for if she accepts every one of them …

      In fact she is indeed ‘booked up’ — writing her next book! 😉

  2. Hear, hear. I don’t often get asked to speak at events, but I am no longer willing to drive more than an hour for a book signing where I’m pretty much guaranteed not to sell more than a couple copies–especially at a store where they are buying through a distributor (or my publisher for my earlier books) and I’ll make almost nothing per sale. Sometimes you have to apply the WIBBOW test and say no thanks.

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