Friday, September 4, 2009

Help me, please!

Tip of the day: Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend. It’s supposed to rain where I am. I plan on spending a lot of the weekend writing!

All right.

Dilemma time.

I need help!

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been in a recession. A recession means less money for everyone, schools especially.

So, I’m getting e-mails quite often from teachers asking if I might donate a book or books for their classroom library.

Now, please understand – I love teachers! And I especially love that these caring teachers want great libraries of books in their classrooms, and want to include MY books in said libraries.

So I have said yes to these requests most of the time, because I feel like it’s something I should do.

But if I donate a book every week to a teacher or some other cause, and it’s a hardcover book at $16.00 that’s $832 in books! And for the record, let’s make sure everyone understands – that’s $832 out of my own pocket.

I mean, to me, that’s a lot of money! Money I need to be saving for my kids’ college tuition that is coming up in the not-so-distant future.

I hate that I may just have to start saying no. But I feel like saying yes has opened the floodgates and now I’m getting even more requests.

Yes, I want kids to read my books! But I also don’t want to be known as the author who is happy to give away books, because I can’t really build a career giving away books. Or can I? Do you think giving away 50+ books would help to sell many more books than that in the long run, because kids read one and then buy more later?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this! What do you think? Should I keep saying yes, or is it time to put my foot down?

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Anonymous said...

I'm not a librarian/teacher or an author so I'm not sure how much this counts but I'd say that, as long as it's not taking enough money to stop you from buying food or anything, don't stop doing it. BUT, don't say yes to everyone. Try to pick out the teachers/librarians who really, really can't afford to get it and maybe help them out. I know that I gave my library my copy of I Heart You and as soon as Far From You came out, they had it. If you're giving it to classrooms, then you're extending the reach of people who see the books, who are familiar with your name, and maybe they can only buy a book a year but then there's a better chance that the book is yours.

That's just my opinion, coming from a small town where libraries (and schools) really CAN'T afford the books. I'm sure other authors and librarians will be able to help you out more.

DeenaML said...

This is tough. My reaction would be to say that I can't provide free books bc you have to buy them, too, but that perhaps they could contact the publisher's marketing dept or something? Not sure they would be able to do anything, but maybe the askers don't understand that you have to BUY the books?

Kate Fall said...

Lisa, it sounds like you need a corporate sponsor! It seems odd that people would ask if they thought you had to pay for the book yourself.

Alissa said...

Why not offer instead to help organize a gently used book drive for the school, and get the word out to students and their parents. If each brought one gently used book that they had at home and no longer needed surely that would go a lot further towards expanding those classroom libraries.

C.K. said...

Yikes! That figure you cite is a hell of a lot of $. And you didn't even figure in the postage which would be substantial too, I'm sure.

I think it's great that you want to be supportive but that there's always going to be more than you (and all the other writers out there) can give of your time and money. So yeah, I think it's time to put your foot down, or at least triage the requests in some way. Saying yes to everyone who asks (and the requests will probably increase even more) just isn't feasible, imo.