The title of this blog may be slightly misleading. And by ‘misleading’, I mean that it is a lie. In truth, I have done, and continue to, thank people who spend a few quid on buying something that I have created. After releasing One Week Of Summer this week, I have been very flattered by the fact that people have been willing to part with their cash in exchange for something I have written. At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, it is hugely gratifying to know that people are supporting what I do, and when someone does tell me that they’ve gone out of their way to buy my book, I always feel that the least I can do is say thank you.
But the more I think about it, the more I have come to feel slightly uneasy about this knee-jerk reaction. I cannot help but feel that by saying ‘thank you’, I am somehow devaluing my writing. I realise that this all sounds very wanky, but let me explain a little more. When one says ‘thank you’, they are generally acknowledging that someone has done them a favour or provided them with a service of some kind. We say thanks when someone holds open a door for us, or gives us a compliment or lends us money. It is understood that one party has done something kind, (for example the friendly money-lender), and the other party (the money-receiver) is somehow indebted to them.
When I thank someone for purchasing my book, I imply that they have done me a service by doing so. In a way, this is not inaccurate, as by buying my work you are not only providing me with some small financial support, but you are also encouraging me to continue doing what I do. What makes me uncomfortable is the idea that I am somehow indebted to you for doing this. Perhaps this reaction is entirely irrational, but by thanking someone for buying my work, I feel as though I am suggesting that they could only possibly have done so either through pity or some sort of obligation as a friend, rather than faith in the merit of the work itself.
I imagine that this is largely down to some sort of deep-rooted insecurity of my own rather than anything else, but to me, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in this context seems almost degrading. I have seen many struggling authors practically begging people to buy and read their books, and by doing so, they only seem to encourage the idea that the the book is mere drivel, and any purchases will be done so in the name of charity rather than a desire to actually read it. I write stuff that I like, and if I thought it was worthless, I wouldn’t charge for it at all. Though I may be a little deluded, I would like to think that those who do buy my books do so because they are interested in the story and expect to actually enjoy it, above all else. While I do try and promote my writing a fair bit, I stay clear of directly asking anyone to buy it for precisely this reason.
I hope that this post has not me sound like an awful ingrate, as I do truly appreciate it when someone buys something I have written. However, when this does happen, I hope that the person will not feel like they have done me a favour, but just bought a book because they liked the sound of it.
And who knows? Maybe they’ll even enjoy it.
What’s your opinion on thanking readers for buying books? Am I just an arrogant wanker, after all? Let me know in a comment below!