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IWSG: When your friends don’t buy your book

Before I was a published author, I came across many posts from writers revealing how much it hurt that their family and friends didn’t support them.

These posts invariably received responses like, “Well, just because they’re our friends doesn’t mean they have to support us,” or “Our friends aren’t required to like everything we do.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a friend is someone who supports what we do.

If you write eight or more books per year, or you’re a writer with dozens of close writer friends, or you’ve achieved Stephen King levels, then it might not be possible for your friends to support everything you do–or for you to buy the books of every writer you know. But the ones whom you consider good friends, whom you regularly chat with online or whom you’ve actually spent time with in person? Of course you should buy their books if it’s at all in your power to do so. And if not, ask if you can get a mobi or PDF in exchange for a review.

You know what isn’t an excuse for not supporting your writer friends?

“I don’t like (insert genre here)” or “I don’t read books about (insert subject here)” or “I don’t read.”

I used to think I didn’t like fantasy or romance. But I have friends who write in those genres, so I bought their books. And you know what? It turns out I like those genres a lot more than I thought I did. Supporting my friends exposed me to something new. Not to mention it’s really cool to own a book written by a friend! It’s like a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their warped and twisted minds. Often just the fact that you love the person who wrote it will make you enjoy a book more than you otherwise would.

To me, people saying they can’t buy your book is akin to saying, “Sorry, I’d love to come to your wedding, but I don’t like weddings.” Or, “I’d love to help your child win that competition, but I don’t have children myself, so I can’t get involved.” Or, “I’m not really into live theatre–or plays about (fill in subject here), so I’m not going to see yours.”

Friends support friends. It’s what they do. There are tons of people out there who will diss everything a writer attempts – the people who are closest to us should be our safe haven.

I assume almost everyone who reads this blog has purchased tickets for plays and concerts that didn’t interest them; bought friends’ CDs; gone to weddings, anniversaries, christenings, and showers (and bought gifts for those events) when they had other things they could be doing; attended events, donated to charities, helped people move, babysat for friends and neighbours and did a myriad of other good deeds with no thought of receiving anything in return.

Well, you’re too polite to say it so I’ll say it for you. Those people should buy your damn book!

And if they really can’t stomach reading it, they should buy it anyway. At least your early endeavours. The 99 cents to twenty bucks it might cost them is pretty cheap compared to how good it makes the writer feel.

Want to give a writer an awesome present this holiday season? Buy their book – and for bonus points, review it.

They’ll never forget it, and the good karma you’ll receive in return is the gift that keeps on giving.

Writers are sensitive creatures. We may not say anything if you don’t buy our book–in fact, we probably won’t–but trust me:

We’ve noticed.

Do your friends and family support you? Have you ever been hurt by a friend who doesn’t? One place I have received tremendous support that I never expected is my blogger friends from the IWSG! Thanks so much to all of you who’ve bought my book. It was unexpected, it means the world to me, and I’ll never forget it.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

76 Comments

  1. Samantha Bryant (@mirymom1)

    Great post! And a perfect choice of picture. I was lucky: I got pretty decent support from among my friends, and surprisingly strong support from among my wider family (not all of whom are readers at all). But, there are those who give me the kinds of excuses you list. Or the ones who think just because my name is on one cover, I’m rich now. LOL.

    Reply
    • JH

      Wow, Samantha, that’s amazing! And rare. I think you’re the only writer I’ve spoken to who isn’t crestfallen about someone in his/her life not supporting them.

      For me, it’s been a complete shock, both who has supported me and who hasn’t. In a lot of cases, friendly acquaintances and online friends have stepped up more than people I’ve helped a lot.

      Wait…aren’t you rich now? 😉

      Reply
  2. Marie Andreas

    EXCELLENT BLOG! It’s really hard when friends don’t buy your books.It is like a slap in your face. I almost want to grab them and say, ‘Did you see?!! I wrote a book!!!” SIGH. Thanks for putting what we all think into words.

    Reply
    • JH

      You’re very welcome, Marie. I’m so happy it resonated with you, but sorry you’ve experienced this as well. Thanks for reading. xo

      Reply
    • Marisa Zammit

      I have a friend who keeps saying she will download my ebook. She never does it. Always, tomorrow night. in a few days. Then it’s ‘I don’t read ebooks. I like printed books.’ I hardly ever see her. We both have kids. I have lent her money, taken her and her kids out to dinner, etc, etc. She acts nice and sweet. The ebook is temporarily free, and she still won’t do it. I now resent her and don’t want much to do with her. I avoid her phone calls, which is always about how she will download it soon. I am going to print it, and I know she won’t buy it. I am a single mother and have gone through a tough time. My blood is boiling. I am really hurting.

      Reply
      • JH

        Hmm…that’s a tough one, Marisa. Either she’s terminally disorganized, doesn’t realize how important this is to you, or keeps forgetting.

        I’d suggest talking to her about it when you’re calmer. Sometimes I’ve been really hurt by a friend’s actions or seeming lack of support, and then it turns out to be a big misunderstanding.

        *hugs* Sorry you’ve been going through such a difficult time!

        Reply
  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Well said! I do try to buy every book by my author buddies. I may never read them, but I supported them with a purchase.

    Reply
    • JH

      You’re one of the most supportive author boosters I know, Alex. I can’t imagine anyone taking issue with you.

      When you promoted my book on your blog, I was so touched and appreciative. You have a huge following, and everything you do to boost authors’ signals really helps.

      Reply
  4. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

    Really interesting post! It must be hard to put your heart and soul into your writing and not have your friends support you. I like your point about buying your friends’ books even if they’re in genres you don’t normally read. I’ve been reading a few books lately that I wouldn’t normally pick up and they’ve been surprising me. Turns out I like things I never thought I would.

    Reply
    • JH

      Isn’t it wonderful when that happens, Ellen? Amazing things can happen when we broaden our horizons.

      Welcome to my blog, and thanks for supporting authors! xo

      Reply
  5. Stephanie Scott

    Three cheers for this post! I’ve bought books and immediately passed them to my mom or someone I thought would be interested. I get so many books now at events that I can’t read everything, but buying for others or at the least recommending makes me feel like I am supporting.

    I have also requested and checked out author friends books from the library to keep them in circulation. Every check out counts! A librarian friend who is a writer sometimes pulls a book she wants to keep in collections and puts it on the book cart.She says people always want to see what other people just read, and almost always, the book will disappear off the cart before they put it away.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that’s a great idea! Please tell your friend she’s a hero.

      And yes, all of the things you’re doing count as support, most definitely.

      Reply
  6. Diane Burton

    Yep, that’s bad. How about a friend who is “too busy” to read your blog? No money involved. Just a few minutes of their time. No support there. I keep telling myself it’s their loss.

    Best wishes,
    Diane
    IWSG #85

    Reply
    • JH

      And that it is, Diane – you have a wonderful blog. Sad that many of your friends are too busy to realize it. 🙁

      People who aren’t bloggers don’t get how important that kind of support is.

      Reply
  7. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Many years ago, a story of mine was to be published in an anthology, in a real live book. It was the first one I ever had accepted for something like that. I was so excited, I told all of my family and friends. Guess how many of them bought it? Read it? Said anything about it? Yeah. Still stings.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh no, Madeline! That’s not cool. I’m so sorry. 🙁

      Reply
  8. Stephanie Faris

    200 percent agree!!! My husband asked me if I gave our friends free copies of my book for their children. I said no…they should have bought it. They never did. I have another issue–friends who ask for help/advice with their own writing careers but do absolutely nothing to support yours. Interestingly, the most supportive people are those who ask for nothing from you. It reminds me of when I worked in an office and I was always buying candy and gifts to support people’s kids. When I brought something in and asked them to support my niece (because I figured they owed me after me spending hundreds of dollars on THEIR kids), I got ZERO support from those people. The only person who bought something was a woman who never asked me to buy a single thing because her daughter was grown. I never bought from any of their kids again.

    Reply
    • JH

      Agreed, Stephanie. That’s been my experience as well. I was in a writing group with one friend, and we got to be incredibly close – at one point, we were best friends. He credits me with saving his life, and beyond all the personal support, I also edited his book for free, spending tons of time on it. Has he bought mine? No. I didn’t help him to get anything in return, but it is incredibly frustrating when friendship is a one-way street.

      Like you, I’ve been as surprised by who has supported me as I have been by who hasn’t.

      Reply
  9. Roland Yeomans

    All my friends buy my books. I found out that I had 2 friends! Just joking.

    Like Alex, I buy a friend’s book when they come out … but I pray they are affordable since I have a lot of cyber-friends.

    I believe that until we find a way to break out of the author-ghetto where only fellow authors buy our books, we will never sell well.

    Best of mid-week to you, Roland

    Reply
    • Stephanie Scott

      “Break out of the author ghetto” YES. There is a Facebook group I belong to that is all authors promoting at each other. I don’t get it. No one is interacting with each other, it’s just promo post after promo post.

      Reply
      • JH

        I’ve seen a few groups like that, and I’ve definitely seen authors on Twitter that do that too. Those are the people who don’t get it.

        Reply
    • JH

      Agreed, Roland. Hopefully our writer friends will spread the word and so on until our following is legion. But until then, thank god for writer friends!

      Loved your post this week.

      Reply
  10. Anna

    I’ve been told by more than one critique partner that they don’t do mysteries. What they do is romance, ya, or whateverrrrrr. My heart was broken. I’ll admit it. I slogged through their work, many a time not my genre, and did my best to help them improve. I hoped they’d be fair and return the favor. Still waiting. :-/

    Anna from Elements of Writing

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that is really disheartening, Anna. Critique partners, of all people! For shame.

      I feel your pain. <3

      Reply
  11. Chrys Fey

    I agree. People who call themselves our friends should support us. Family even more. But no one in my family has read my ebooks and none of my friends have bought them. I don’t know why. It’s a big bummer, but I know that many writers have dealt with this same disappointment.

    Reply
    • JH

      Well, one of your friends has bought your books, because I did! 🙂

      But that is really sad. I can’t understand why. You’re such an amazing person, and I am really looking forward to reading your books!

      Reply
  12. Deb Hawkins

    Oh my God, THIS!!!! Especially, “I don’t like (insert genre here)” or “I don’t read books about (insert subject here)” or “I don’t read.” Gah! They’re basically saying they don’t care!

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome to my blog, Deb! I’m glad this post resonated with you. That’s how I feel too. And it’s very hard sometimes not to stoop to their level and stop supporting their stuff. I do lots of things I don’t want to because it means a lot to my friends.

      Reply
  13. Sephera Giron

    When I first started out, in 1999, I was pretty upset that my friends didn’t buy my book. Over twenty-five books later, most of my friends and family have never bought my books. (My parents do or did, of course, even the raunchy ones that I never told them I wrote!.)

    However, at the end of the day, it matters not to me anymore if my friends read or buy my books or come to my signings or come to my lectures and readings. They never ever do. Of course it hurts. Of course it makes me sad. However, the real mission about being professionally published is that I want people who enjoy reading in the genres where I write to buy my books.

    What I don’t understand though is why my FACEBOOK friends don’t buy my books. Most of my friends on Facebook asked me to be friends and therefore, I imagined that meant they were fans, why else do people I don’t know want to be friends? However, it’s obvious from, my royalty statements that most of my social media “friends” don’t buy my books. So then I wonder, why are you my friend?

    Anyway, just chiming in.There’s no right or wrong. People will do what they do.

    Keep on writing and hope that people who enjoy your genre read your books. Don’t worry about your real life friends. This is not a test. I can’t afford to buy all the books my friends have written either. If my friends listen to my bitching, that’s good enough for me!

    Reply
    • JH

      Hey Sephera,

      To me, if you find this hurtful or it makes you sad, it still does matter to you. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, I’ve done tons of things to support my friends, and I’m bummed that I don’t get the same consideration in return.” For some reason there’s so much pressure on authors to be shiny happy people all the time, when some aspects of this industry are incredibly painful.

      I don’t think we should have to buy all the books of every author we know, either – but the first or second books of the ones we count as our close friends would be nice. Samhain is a perfect example. I don’t read ebooks, and I’ve already spent hundreds of dollars buying the trade paperbacks of the authors who have reviewed my books or otherwise been kind to me. But I can’t buy every one, and it takes me a while to get through them all. I just figure buying the ones I can is better than not buying any at all.

      The Facebook friend thing is weird, unless they’re not seeing your posts. Facebook is terrible for that – it’s extremely difficult to reach people organically now, because they want you to pay for it.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  14. Tamara Narayan

    I would love to have more readers, but at the same time, I don’t think people should feel obligated to buy my books because they are related to me or blog with me. My reading time is limited and I want to pick stuff that appeals to me. I’m guessing it’s the same for lots of others. I would hope blog visitors would check out the blurbs and then decide if the material was appealing, but maybe that’s naive. Everyone is in such a hurry they might not even realize I have a separate page describing those stories.

    Reply
    • JH

      Hi Tamara,

      Nice to see you again. I agree, people shouldn’t feel obligated. But if they’re a close friend of yours, hopefully they want to support you. You can buy a book to support a friend without reading it – I don’t know many authors who wouldn’t appreciate the sale on its own merit. However, reading things I didn’t think would interest me has led to a lot of wonderful surprises. I highly recommend it.

      Reply
  15. Crystal Collier

    Shout it louder!!!!

    My brothers decided to release a business the same time my first book came out. As in, they knew for a year beforehand that my book was going to release on a specific date, and they decided to open this business the EXACT same time. Did they support the book? No. Did I support their business in every way possible? You bet. And then they closed their doors a month later. Have they offered any support since then? Nope. Left me with a bitter taste in the mouth. *shrugs* Some people just don’t get it.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh my god, Crystal, that is horrible! As well as tacky and selfish. I’m so sorry. You deserve better.

      Hugs.

      Reply
  16. Megan Morgan

    I actually kind of feel different about this. I have a lot of people around me who ‘support’ me but don’t necessarily read my work. They give me words of encouragement and make me feel good about myself. Some of them do buy my work. I don’t feel offended when they don’t, though. I’m content that they congratulate me and like to hear about my accomplishments.

    Reply
    • JH

      Great, Megan. I’m really glad that works for you. Certainly cuts down on the disappointment, I’m sure.

      Reply
  17. Misha Burnett

    I disagree. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to buy my work. Some of my friends like my work, some don’t. Nearly everyone I know is some kind of artist–a writer, a photographer, a painter, actor, or filmmaker. I buy the work that I want to own, and I have no problem telling someone, “I don’t care for your work.”

    Yes, I’ve lost friends that way, but the way I see it I don’t really need people in my life who expect me to lie to them.

    My work isn’t for everyone. It breaks genre lines and has characters who are morally ambiguous. Someone who is looking for a sweet romance where everyone lives happily ever after isn’t going to like my stuff.

    On the other hand, there are also people who really enjoy my work with whom I do not get along at all. A professional artist has to able to separate the creative product from the human being who produces it. I sell books to customers, and I spend time with friends. Some people are both, and those people are very dear to me. But many more are either one or the other, and I don’t confuse the two.

    Reply
    • JH

      Fair enough, Misha. As you don’t necessarily support the work of your friends, I agree that it’s not right to expect their support either. My post was written for those of us who support our friends’ children, artistic endeavours, life events, etc., and who might hope that their friends return the favour at some point by spending the two bucks to 99 cents.

      I meet and talk to hundreds of authors every year, and this subject has repeatedly come up as a source of pain. I felt it was worth writing about, but no one has to agree with me.

      Reply
  18. dolorah

    I understand that sentiment. At first I was disappointed that my family would buy but not read my published stories, and that my blog friends (when I only had a few) weren’t reading my stuff. But I have to admit, if I bought/read every book that my blog buddies published I’d do nothing but read blogger/author books all the time, and not have time for my own writing. And even at .99 per book, that is an expensive support system. I have about 150 author “friends”, some of whom I have met personally.

    So yeah, I use the excuse “not my reading genre”. I support my friends by posting reviews when I do read their works, and occasionally answering requests for beta reading/critiquing. I host guest authors, participate in blog tours, sign up for thunder clap events.

    My day life friends and family show their support in ways other than buying/reading my stories. They listen to my complaints about a character misbehaving, listen to me rant about an author’s particular style, forgive me for picking apart the plot of a book or movie they liked, let me make excuses like “I’m working on a story” when I want to miss events.

    If they do not read my works, they cannot offend me with negative opinions about my writing, lol. Saves relationships, in the larger scheme of things.

    Reply
    • JH

      True enough.

      Your situation is one of the ones I mentioned as an exception – as bloggers, we can easily get to the point where we have hundreds of writer acquaintances, and it’s impossible to support them all.

      But I do think it’s important to support the ones who are close to us. However, like you said, there are a myriad of ways to do that.

      Reply
  19. Patricia Lynne

    My in-laws are very supportive and I know will buy any book I write (even when I tell hubby they’re not allowed to because of adult content and it’s embarrassing to think of them reading that!) My parents are supportive too. It always amuses me to hear my dad tell someone I’ve written a book. He’s proud and he’s never been the type to constantly doll out complements, so it’s not something I’m used to hearing. But I have had people I know tell me they don’t read that genre, like it’s an excuse to why they aren’t buying it. Honestly, they don’t have to buy it. Just say “way to go” or “congrats”. I think you can be supportive without dishing out money.

    Reply
    • JH

      Most definitely, Patricia. Some people won’t be able to scrape together the 99 cents it would take them to buy the book. In that case, verbal support is better than the alternative.

      That’s awesome that your in-laws and family are so supportive! You deserve nothing less – you’re an amazing person.

      Reply
  20. Sara C. Snider

    I have to agree with Misha above–I really don’t want people feeling obligated to read my work just because they know me personally. That’s not why I write. I’m writing for me, and to hopefully find people that *do* want to read my writing. That’s not to say I don’t have support among family and friends, because I do, and I’m extremely grateful for them. But I’ve also told family members, who I don’t think would like my stories, “Don’t read it, you won’t like it.”

    I feel like expecting people to behave a certain way creates unnecessary tension and animosity. So they don’t read my blog/books. Does that mean they don’t love me? I don’t think it does, because I still love them regardless. If they want to join me on this journey I’m taking, I’ll cheer and hug them and be thrilled to have them along. But if they don’t, I’ll hug them all the same and wish them the best and hope we bump into each other on whatever paths we’re on. Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    • JH

      To me, it’s not about an obligation any more than all the things we do to help and support our friends is an obligation. Supporting each other is what friends do. I’m not suggesting we should require our friends to support our early endeavours – I’m saying they should want to. It’s not like reading or buying a book is some kind of extreme torture. It’s a small gesture on their part that means a lot to the writer.

      I’m sure they still love you, but I personally can’t imagine not buying the books of my friends, whether I was a writer or not. I can’t help but feel it’s a tad selfish or self-absorbed. It would be different if you had twenty published novels, but one or two? Buy the damn book. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Rebecca Douglass

    I get good support from my family (at least some of them buy my books, and my Mom sells them to as many of her friends as she can 😀 ). I’ve no complaints there. What I find interesting is which of my friends, especially “real life” friends, buy the books and who doesn’t. I’m deeply touched by a couple of co-workers who buy every one of my books, because they don’t have to. They REALLY don’t have to, because I work at the library, and the books are in the library…

    Very few of my friends or relations who are not authors “get it” about writing reviews or sharing on social media, though. One of my brothers does. He reviews my books, being honest about being my brother, but claiming it doesn’t matter, he likes the book anyway. I have no idea if that’s helpful, but it’s sweet, and I appreciate it.

    But no one–not friends or strangers–is under any moral obligation to buy, read, or review my books. I’m just grateful that many do.

    Reply
    • JH

      Of course not, Rebecca. Just like you’re not under any moral obligation to buy your friends’ CDs, go to their weddings, help them move, or buy Girl Scout cookies from their kids.

      I’m not saying it’s a moral obligation, just that our friends should want to support our early endeavours. It means a lot and costs little. I’m glad you have good support from your family and some of your friends. Just please know if you’re ever hurt about some of your friends’ lack of buy-in, you’re definitely not alone.

      Reply
  22. Michelle

    I love this post, but I don’t actually expect people I know to buy my book. I released my novella in June and I was pleasantly surprised when my critique buddies bought it and I kind of knew that my best friends would buy it. I knew my copyeditor would buy it. Everyone else has been a bonus in a way. I know for sure that people I don’t know at all have bought it, so that’s cool.

    But it is surprising who buys it, who buys it and says something about it, and who doesn’t buy it at all.

    What irritated me for a long time was that my closest friends didn’t read/comment on my blog. It’s free. They’re short. A quick little comment is super appreciated. So I’ve swallowed my disappointment there.

    Reply
    • JH

      Hi Michelle,

      Welcome to my blog. I think it’s best to go into this industry not expecting things, as you said – less chance of disappointment that way. But you were lucky enough to know your best friends would buy it. Some writers have best friends that don’t.

      I hear you on the blog situation as well. My friends were good about that, but it always hurt that my mom didn’t read it.

      Reply
  23. Shadow

    I will knock the block off any of my family/friends who don’t buy/read my book… But the true support I think comes from sources such as these, because I don’t think a non-writer(?) understands how important it is to a writer…

    Reply
    • JH

      Bravo! Good for you, Shadow. Don’t accept less than you’re worth.

      And I agree – even though I’m a writer, I never thought of reviewing books until I had friends who were published and saw what a difference it made. Now that I’ve got a book out, I realize reviews are crucial. I always review everything I read now, unless I absolutely hated the book.

      Reply
  24. Susan Scott

    I’ve been thinking about this post over the last few days J.H. – am responding only now, because it’s the first opportunity! It’s also been a great opportunity to read others’ comments as well.

    I’m conflicted about this whole story. I have to say that only very few friends were supportive of my book … nevertheless, those who have read it (and most I don’t even know personally) have been extremely complimentary and kind in e.g. their amazon reviews. That is enough for me. But yes, it was a difficult time when I let my friends know .. and their support was zilch, zero, capo. …

    re my blog: I think some of my friends read it and only occasionally comment. But the support I get from my ‘followers’ of my blog more than make up for lack of their support ..

    Re; purchasing books of friends here or there … a tricky one here in South Africa as our SA rand to the dollar is appallingly desperate .. I have in the past bought books in order to support those who I have ‘got to know’ over the Internet. These have been Kindle editions and even a few that are not in my usual genre. Many are on my kindle STBR … still to be read. And I LOVE reading, more than anything. I would LOVE to buy kindle books that are more up my street – and I am eclectic in my tastes – but the rand to the dollar makes this prohibitive at this point. Oh how I yearn for our rand to become stronger.

    But your point about supporting friends is the main issue – I don’t know WHAT to make of friends who don’t support … it is a psychological puzzle. I fully understand that my writing is psychological stuff and this is definitely not everyone’s best cup of tea. For me this happened quite a long time ago – 5 years ago, and I have let it go. There is no sense of obligation – I know that occasionally my book (now available only as Kindle edition) is bought by someone … and that is fine.

    Thank you for this post – important issues were raised.

    Now to pop over to your recent verrrrry creepy post. Have a lovely weekend!

    Reply
    • JH

      I don’t understand it, either. Am I the only one who would find it unthinkable not to buy a close friend’s book, or see their band perform at least once, or respond to a request for help?

      It would never occur to me NOT to support my friends, so I don’t understand how so many people are comfortable with it.

      Reply
      • Farah

        I just came accross your post, and I can’t agree more with you. My parentd were supportive and some members of my family as well. But None of my best friends bought my book and it really hurted me a lot. The worst is I kept telling them straight forward how they could show no support, they just smile, no and do nothing. And I am a big supporter to everyone. I will even buy books of people I barely know just to encourage them even if I end up not reading their books. The point is, i really don’t know how am i supposed to take it with my best friends?

        Reply
  25. Michelle Wallace

    Spot on JH.
    I so agree. Whenever possible, I always buy the books of my writer friends AND I review them on Goodreads/Amazon/Smashwords.
    It’s all about support. And I do believe that the nicest thing you can do for an author is write them a review.
    However, like Susan Scott mentioned above, in South Africa the rand is weak, and the exchange rate of rand to dollar makes it difficult for me to buy books all the time. But I’ve won lots of blogger buddies’ e-books through giveaways/Rafflecopters etc. so that helps.

    With regards to your point: “I don’t like (insert genre here)” or “I don’t read books about (insert subject here)” or “I don’t read.”
    Writers are encouraged to read different genres so as to expand your horizons and improve writing skills. Over time, our writing becomes, in some ways, a compilation of all the things we’ve learned as readers, blended together in our own unique recipe.

    Just today, I was reading Zen In The Art Of Writing by Ray Bradbury and came across this passage: “Read poetry…essays. What about short stories, novels? Of course. Read those authors who write the way you hope to write, those who think the way you would like to think. But also read those who do not think as you think, or write as you want to write, and so be stimulated in directions you might not take for many years. Here again, don’t let the snobbery of others prevent you from reading Kipling, say, while no one else is reading him.”
    There’s also that word: snobbery. There’s a common belief that there are classes of writing. Some writers are genre snobs. But that’s another topic…a discussion for another time.

    I don’t have a book out…yet…but one day I will. Hopefully my family and friends will support me.

    Thank you for a great post!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks for commenting, Michelle. You raised some excellent points.

      I agree it’s important for writers to read all sorts of different genres, and writer snobbery? Oy vey. Don’t get me started – like you said, a different post for another time.

      Thanks for supporting the authors in your life as much as you can. 🙂

      Reply
  26. Ula

    I completely agree. I try to read books by friends, online and off. It’s a decent thing to do and all reading teaches me something.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Ula. I think writers in general are pretty good about supporting other writers. It’s the rest of the population that makes me shake my head.

      Reply
  27. C. Lee McKenzie

    I have some very supportive friends, but I also have some who go blank if I mention I’m still writing. “Oh, I thought you’d stopped doing that.” They never ask about projects and so I no long bring up the topic. I let them tell me about their latest diet or boyfriend and take notes in case I need a juicy bit of dialogue. My revenge. . .they will be in a story one day. 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Good for you, Lee! Writing well is the best revenge. 🙂

      I can’t believe you have friends who don’t even know you’re still writing! Unbelievable. Would it kill them to ask?

      Sigh.

      Reply
  28. Birgit

    I just got Kindle on the laptop and I don’t have a tablet…yet. I rarely buy anything online but plan to now buy books from all of my blogger friends because I do want to support all of you. My goal, in the New Year is to do just that. I would have bought blogger’s books right away at the book store but could not locate any there. I am so old school that I truly didn’t know how to read them online. This is a New Year’s goal. Once I have them I can read some because so many sound excellent. Has a friend let me down? Yes and I know not to depend on them and consider them a friend of the moment but not a true friend-those are rare

    Reply
    • JH

      How dare a friend let you down! I will kick his/her butt. Grr…

      Sadly, yes – true friends are rare. Especially rare are those who will celebrate your success. There’s this quote that goes something like, “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present for my success,” but I’ve actually found people have a lot harder time with others’ success than they do with any struggle. Jealousy is an ugly thing.

      Thanks for supporting your blogger friends! That’s awesome of you. I don’t like to read books on my computer, either. Would much rather hold a real paperback.

      Reply
  29. Frank

    I already know that if I do manage to finish writing a book and if by some miracle it gets published, the vast majority of my friends and family will not care. I have very nice friends but they do not seem at all interested in my writing.

    Having not been published, it’s easy for me to say this won’t bother me but I know me well enough to know it will. It already kind of does. These people are very supportive of every thing else I do. Just not my writing. And it already bugs me a bit.

    For the record, I’m not a fan of horror writing because I don’t generally get scared by it. I want to get scared by it but my mind is broken and won’t allow it. But when a friend’s horror story was published, I could not wait to buy, and more importantly read, the book. It was fantastic!

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks Frank. I was so surprised and thrilled when you bought my book. It was such a kind gesture, and to leave a review too – you’re a writer’s bff. I hope you know I’ll be first in line to buy yours.

      That sucks about your friends. I can’t understand why people think this is okay. I have a few friends whose spouses don’t read their work and don’t care to hear about it. I’ve never understood that either. Writing is such a huge part of who we are. I think that would be a deal breaker for me.

      Reply
  30. Dianne Salerni

    Hear, hear! This post is right on target!

    And don’t get me started on “my husband doesn’t read my writing.” Uggghhh!

    I am lucky to be supported by my husband, family, and friends. Even co-workers who I know don’t read very much have bought my books.

    Reply
    • JH

      Wow, that is super lucky, Dianne. I’m a little envious. 😉 I’ve had some amazing support from my inner and outer circles, but clearly I’ve been hurt by the handful of very close friends who haven’t stepped up, mostly because they also tend to be the friends I’ve personally done a lot for.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  31. Stephanie@Fairday's Blog

    How interesting! I read this whole post by seeing it on Twitter a week or so ago. Someone I know posted a link to it and I had to read the post with that title. I thought I had commented on it, but I scrolled through and don’t see my comment (so I may have just commented in my hear).

    Awesome post! Love it! It is interesting when you have a book come out and you see who supports you and who doesn’t. I have found support in places I never would have expected and have thought certain people would be supportive when they weren’t. I try to support my friends and family in all that they do (when I can afford it, of course).

    Great job! 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Stephanie. I can definitely say the same – surprised in both good ways and bad when it comes to support, but mostly good.

      Reply
  32. Ron Glaser

    What support should one expect from their spouse? For example, should I expect my spouse to tell her friends about my book? To send them a link to where it is published. or post something on her Facebook page? To bring a copy of my book to her Book Club? Or should I expect nothing?

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome, Ron.

      My response may be controversial to some, but I expect my partner to be my biggest fan…because I’m his.

      That said, different people value different things, and sometimes even a spouse won’t know the best way to support you until you ask.

      For instance, when I started blogging, it was really important to me that my partner commented on my blogs. It made me feel heard and appreciated, and sometimes he was the only one who did. But since he doesn’t blog, he had no idea how important it was to me until I told him.

      Personally, at a bare minimum, I think a spouse should read your work, celebrate your accomplishments, and tell you not to give up when you’ve had a rough setback. I have writer friends whose partners don’t read their work, and I can’t even imagine that. That would be a deal breaker for me (but obviously it isn’t for others).

      Reply
  33. Karen

    Great post. I hadn’t realized how typical this is. What I’m getting these days, since I have an ebook is “when can I get a hard copy, or I want a paper book” *sigh*

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome, Karen! It is way too typical, if you ask me. I had the same issue you describe, but thankfully my book was coming out in paper later that year.

      I’m one of those people who would rather read a paper book too, but I’ll still buy the ebook to show support. Ebooks are so cheap, there’s really no excuse.

      Reply
  34. LW

    Well it’s good to see I am not alone in this. Friends and family surprised me. I had some who went out of their way to support me (thankful for them) and some who ignored me ( I didn’t chase them) I tell people once and follow their lead. That said, it hurt when I looked back over the years at the amount of money spent on their weddings, bridal/baby showers, school fund-raisers for their children etc, but they couldn’t return the favor in buying a 2.99 ebook. Oh well, such as life I guess.

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome, LW. Yeah, to me it’s not the money but the effort. It takes time and effort to choose a gift, buy it, wrap it, get a card and sign it, get dressed up, and spend hours at a wedding or social. If those friends aren’t willing to spend two minutes or less buying your ebook, what does that say about them?

      And yet writers aren’t allowed to “expect” anything. Drives me crazy! We’re certainly expected to support the school fundraisers and go to the weddings and socials.

      Reply
  35. Brad Foster

    Fairly new to e-publishing, but yeah I’m running into that. Lots of “Likes” when I post release of my work, but no action. No shares or comments besides “that’s great, congrats!”. I’d like to think I’d buy their eBooks (or printed books) or at least share the posts (yes, I’ve asked!). It’s very hard to make it as an independent author if you get no word of mouth, and crickets don’t write reviews :P. Also, I really don’t want to resort to those “I bet I won’t even get ONE share.. those of you who are my REAL friends.” AUGH, I hate those — but they do seem to generate action so what gives?!? Thanks for letting me vent!

    Reply
    • JH

      Hang in there, Brad. You’re definitely not alone. It might help to cultivate some writer friends who get this stuff. “Civilians” don’t understand how important good reviews are, or shares, or how important each book purchase is.

      I can’t believe those whiny statuses work! If they do, I’m sure it’s only in the short term. Rise above it–you’ve got this. Things will turn around, as long as you don’t give up. I highly recommend the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.

      Reply
  36. Sally Ruth Bourrie

    Thank you so much for this blog. I have just written/published my first book and I have been shocked at two supposedly close friends of mine who didn’t buy my book (one of whom’s husband writes books and is seemingly constantly marketing them to us; I’ve bought them). Not only did I think they were close friends, they’re also among the most affluent people I know and they’re avid readers. So many friends and even acquaintances, people I never expected, took great joy in buying my book and it was beautiful. They found joy in making this gesture, in helping me. I no longer believe I can depend on the others, who I did think were close friends, to be there for me when I need them. Things will not be the same between us and it has hurt. Really, thank you for sharing your feelings about this. It has helped me to not feel selfish.

    Reply

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