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Why Should You Buy a Book?
Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker
Santa Barbara, CA
Friday, September 19, 2014


Why Should You Buy a Book?


Tracy Shawn, MA


Have you ever bought a movie ticket? Paid to see a concert or play? Handed over cash for entrance fee to a fair? Chances are you have. And, for the most part, it's more than worth it. It takes an enormous amount of time, effort, funds, and innovation to produce all these venues. But what about books? Why should you ever buy a book when there are libraries, friends to borrow from, and free book giveaways?

The answers are the same exact reasons why you pay to see a movie, concert, or buy tickets for any other form of entertainment: Your "fee" to read a thought-provoking story and be taken away to another world is a small price to pay for all the work, creativity, sacrifice, and, yes, funds, that went into producing that work of fiction.

Writing a book is a herculean effort, which can take authors years to finish (in fact, I know one author who took over 30 years to produce his debut novel). Writers make a lot of sacrifices in order to produce a manuscript, often skipping vacations, weekend outings, even pounding away on the keyboard during holidays. This arduous process isn't just about writing either. There's an ungodly amount of research, editing, rewriting, and of course—lots of self-doubt—along the way.

Then, whether self or traditionally published, most authors have to fork over money for publicity, which runs into thousands of dollars. Indie authors have to pay for editing, formatting, narrators for audio books, and cover art (and don't forget that both small and large publishers also have to pay for these services as well).

When you buy books, you are helping authors squeak out a living (yes, most authors—unless they're on the top of the heap—are either losing money or probably making far less than minimum wage). And whether you purchase from a brick and mortar bookstore or online, you are also helping authors' sales numbers, which can mean much more than individual dollar signs—authors usually only make about a dollar per book—because enough sales can increase the likelihood that sites such as Amazon will recommend the book to others, especially if you like the book enough to give it a positive review.

So be supportive of authors—and to the dedicated people who believe in the power of books—including editors, agents, designers, narrators, publicists, booksellers, and publishers. Please think twice about asking to buy a book directly from your local author friend or requesting a free copy (chances are, she had to pay for the few ones she has in stock for reviewers). Instead, be a patron of the arts and take some breaks from your library and friend borrowing, go to your local bookstore or log onto your favorite online book source, then plunk down a similar amount that would get you a café latte and muffin—which may cost you even less if you buy an EBook version—and purchase your own magical source of lifetime entertainment.

Tracy Shawn, MA lives and writes on the Central Coast of California. Her award-winning novel, The Grace of Crows, is about how an anxiety-ridden woman finds happiness through the most unexpected of ways—and characters. Dubbed a "stunning debut novel" by top 50 Hall of Fame reviewer, Grady Harp, The Grace of Crows has won the 2013 Jack Eadon Award for the Best Book in Contemporary Drama, Second Place for General Fiction for the 2013 Readers Choice Awards, and Runner-Up for 2014 General Fiction with the Great Northwest Book Festival.   






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Name: Tracy Shawn
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