Do your friends and relatives buy+read your book(s)?

December 16th, 2010 § 6 comments

Last night I posted a piece asking “Do your friends read your blog?” and was thrilled to read all of the answers (if you haven’t commented there, please do). I’m very interested in this subject and it’s spurred another question (as most good questions do).

Published authors: do your friends and relatives buy and/or read your books? I don’t presume that buying equals reading. I am interested in the relationship between social proximity and likelihood of purchase and reading.

Did your mother buy 50 copies and give them out at Christmas? Did she expect you give her free copies instead? Did your friends rush out and buy it or did they figure they’d been there along the way and didn’t need to? Does it depend on what kind of book it is? Did they buy it but then not actually read it and figure they showed support by purchasing?

What about Facebook friends? Twitter friends? Local friends?

Looking forward to hearing your stories on this one.

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§ 6 Responses to Do your friends and relatives buy+read your book(s)?"

  • The first time an essay of mine was published in a book, I bought my mother a copy and mailed it to her. A few weeks later she mailed it back. She didn’t want me to “spend all my money” on her. (eye roll). I initially would buy a bunch of copies and give as gifts but the feedback was lukewarm at best. Even when the kids were in a gardening book of a friend’s, I heard a lot of, “oh.. that’s cute.” Much like, “oh, tube socks.” I think being part of a “collection” is not viewed quite the same as a novel. If I were an Oprah pick I suppose everyone would be impressed. Whatever.

    So now I only buy copies for my major cheerleaders. There are two friends of mine who nearly go weepy when I offer them a book I’m in. It’s good for the psyche. :)

  • kim says:

    Yes, some friends et. al. purchase. I generally receive an email or note referenced to and indicating they’ve read.

  • Well, my Mom bought (but hasn’t read) the collection that contains my most recent short story. But as far as I know, so far, no one else I know has bought it. Or read it. #sigh

  • Since I have never had a thing published other than in cyberspace, I cannot comment on this topic.

    However, I can comment on books that are given to me that are not written by giver, but given as a thoughtful (one would presume) gift. I am currently reading one of the books you gave to me and loving it. I find that most people that give me books know me well enough to do so and usually I enjoy what is given to me. If it’s some stupid hostess-type completely thoughtless ridiculous book that has nothing to do with my likes or who I am, I’ll donate it.

  • Erika Robuck says:

    I self published a book in 2009, and many of my friends and family bought/read my book, though not as many as I would have thought. I assumed anyone who knew me would read it, but, as it turns out, my non-reader friends are not interested in reading just because their pal published a book. Maybe, because I self-published, they might have feared what they’d find. My mom and mother in law have bought oodles of books to give to everyone they know at work and in their friends’ circles.

    My best luck with bulk purchase has come from book clubs I’ve visited. Not only to they buy a set for the group (though they sometimes share), they often buy in bulk for holiday gift giving.

    I’d be interested to see what a traditionally published novelist has to say on this topic. If I go the traditional route on my next book, I wonder if more of my friends & acquaintances would take a chance.

    Great question!

  • Seth Mnookin says:

    I certainly make sure my family reads my books…as for my friends, I’d say it’s a mixed bag. What I always tell them is that it’s just as important for them to actually buy the book, and I try to buy all of my friends’ books.

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