I came back into the office after buying the book of one of the writers in my Melbourne writers group, and I proudly showed it off. The first comment from one of my colleagues was ‘but shouldn’t he give you a freebie?’ I dug a little further and discovered there was a perception that when you get a book published you also were given boxes of copies to give away to friends and family.

When you publish a book you want everyone you know to buy a copy. BUY a copy. They should be the first batch of sales you can depend on. All the free books go to people who might review them in a forum where others will read about it so that they will then go out and buy a copy.

Writing and publishing a book is a business, and your business (like any other) is only as good as your sales. It is funny because a few years ago I was involved in a venture to make aluminium-free deodorant. I did have boxes of the stuff I could give away, but I was touched by how many people told me they would like to buy some.

I guess in a world where people think it is okay to illegally download music and movies for free (something I want to make it clear I abhor and am vehemently against), I should expect that books will also be thrown into that category of okay to take for free. It is so disappointing to see such an attitude be held so commonly.

Artists (and production staff) put a lot of work into these products, it just seems so obvious to me that if you like them, and you want those artists to make more of them, you should pay them for it. You don’t want your favourite author to be forced to find writing hours inside a schedule of pressure-packed full time work. I can tell you now; the work usually wins. Do you want them to finish that trilogy or not?

Go buy a book.