How do I buy my friend's book?

Welcome to another blog looking at how you can support your author friend! I hope this is helpful!

So, my friend brought out a book. Do I have to read it?

Of course not! If the topic or genre don’t interest you – please don’t! Your friend is your friend – She loves you for who you are. You are not a POTENTIAL CUSTOMER to her – you are her friend.

Well, I want to support her – so I’ll buy it. I don’t have to read it, do I?

A friendly warning - if you buy the book – she’ll want to know what you think! She’ll want to know that you got to the end of it and your thoughts.

But I REALLY didn’t like it! What do I say?

Firstly, if this is the first or second book your friend has written, be very gentle with her. This book is like a baby to her. She is exhausted, emotional and desperate for her ‘baby’ to do well. Can you think of anything nice to say? Was it well-written? Were there funny moments that made you smile? Maybe it wasn’t for you, but you can imagine someone else would love it?

If your friend is a more accomplished author, you still need to be kind. The book you have just read took her months to write, edit and publish. But if you have comments on the historical accuracy, the ending, or an underdeveloped character, she’d rather hear these kindly from a friend (bearing chocolates and flowers), than from a one-star Amazon review.

So, how do I get one of her books? I don’t want to put her out.

Selling her books is NEVER an inconvenience to your friend. It is a sheer delight – often accompanied by the happy dance!

If you want to buy her book – ask her how! The answer will depend on how she was published and her particular author goals. Let me explain the options to you:

Buying from Amazon – A quick click on the button and the book is flying to you or is available on your Kindle. She may ask you to buy from Amazon. This pushes her book up in the Amazon rankings and hopefully helps her get more sales. However, she will get very little money from this transaction. (And no, she isn’t greedy, nor is she making a living. She is trying to recoup the expenses of producing a book!)

Buying from a Local Bookshop – Asking for her book in a local bookshop supports the local economy and lets the store manager know that the book is out there. This may be a strategy your friend wants to pursue. Again, as with Amazon, she will get very little money. (By ‘very little money’ we are looking at between 50p and £1.30 per book!)

Buying directly from her – Many of my author friends prefer it if people buy direct from their webshop. It allows them to personalise the book, gives them a sales-buzz, and they get more money (nearer £2 to £3.50 per book sale). If she has a traditional publishing deal (a very rare thing these days), she won’t want you to buy from her, as that sale won’t count towards any best-seller lists, but for authors using small presses, independent publishers or hybrid publishers – they may prefer you to buy directly from them.

But I don’t know what kind of publisher she used. It looks like a normal book.

That’s because it is a normal book – regardless of which publishing option she used. It is a published book, and it looks no different to other books. That’s why you’ll need to ask her how to buy the book.

I followed your advice – I asked her. She wanted me to buy direct – but then she charged me shipping!

Yes, because she has to pay for shipping! (And for the nice little postcards she puts in there, and the padded envelope – those things aren’t cheap.) Most places will charge you shipping because it is a significant cost and can no longer be absorbed by business. 

But I get free shipping with Amazon!

You get free shipping with Amazon, if you are a Prime customer. The latest figures I read claim that each Prime Customer spends just under £2,000 per year on Amazon. I promise that if you were to spend £2k per year buying from your author friend, she would offer you free shipping too!

Charging you for shipping breaks her heart. She hates it! I know, because I hate it! But if she didn’t, she’d literally be paying for you to read her book, and there would never be that sequel you keep asking about.

And a discount? Mates-rates?

I’m just going to pretend you didn’t ask that! Maybe ‘as a mate’ you could offer to pay extra for her book? Be the kind of friend who blesses, not who expects a blessing.

But I only read ebooks – they are better for the environment! I have to use Amazon.

Increasing, independently published authors are able to sell ebooks and audio books direct from their website. I’ll talk a little more about that next week – but ask her. She may well have that option in her webshop!

Ok – I think I get it. Ask her how to buy it. If I buy direct, don’t moan about the shipping. If I buy it, read it. And, can I ask one more question? Why does she roll her eyes at me, when I ask when the next one will be out?

Oh – I know what you mean. It’s the same eye-roll a new mother will give you when you ask when she’s planning on having another baby! May I offer you a tiny piece of practical advice? Unless you are willing to put money down as a pre-order, don’t ask her when the next book is coming out! It’s not a conversation question. It puts your friend under pressure to bring out another book – a book you probably have no intention of buying!

If you want to show interest in your author-friend's work – here are some questions that she’d love to answer:

Tell me about some of your best reviews?

Which part did you enjoy writing the most?

Which part of this book was hardest to write?

Can I buy a couple of copies to give to my friends?

I hope this helps – and thank you for wanting to be such a great support to your author friend.

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