Okay, so everyone knows that last weekend was pretty amazing for me. What you may not know; unless you’re one of my author friends who was just as outraged when they heard this as I was, is that I heard something that was pretty unsettling. Last weekend’s event was hosted by Book Clubs United. Given that fact, there were tons of book club members on hand for our event. I was honored to have several stop by my table to sign my contact sheet, have me sign a few books or just to chat.
Now I don’t make a habit of utilizing my blog for ranting- I mean something has got to really get me steamed for it to warrant an actual rant. Well this definitely qualifies. One of the things authors adore more than writing, is talking about their writing. Book clubs provide outlets for authors to do just that, but in talking with some of the club members this past weekend I discovered that they don’t reach out to us as often as they would like. Why? You ask? Well so did I and to discover that it’s because they don’t have the money to pay us is what got me so steamed and motivated this posting.
Now before I go any further, understand that I’m not one to sit on high and make assumptions. Author colleagues, if what I’m about to say offends you, apologies. Money to pay us? Are you kidding me? I guess I’m confused, because I had no idea authors did this. I suppose before I get too steamed, I should ask why? Why would an author feel they need to charge folks who are already financially supporting us by purchasing our work? I get the fact that you may be an author who is located on the East coast and the club is on the West coast but…you do realize you can deduct travel expenses (flight, hotel, food) from your taxes, right? Again I ask ‘why would an author charge a club to come and speak to them? FYI- you do realize that you’re screwing it up for the rest of us? Lots of clubs are now leery about even reaching out to ask us to come for a visit because they are just assuming we’re gonna quote them some outrageous price to visit. I had two members talk with me about paying an author almost $150 to come and chat with them. Now $150 may not sound like a lot to you, but when you take into account that these clubs have to buy food, not mention books for their club, they also use their dues to pay for conferences (remember those conference where they come to see us and have us sign our books for them? Yeah- clubs have expenses too).
Taking upwards of $150 to spend on one author, sort of ruins it for the rest of us. Think about how many books a club reads in a given year and some clubs have anywhere from 4 to 40 members- members who, by the way are gonna be talking about our work and hopefully recommending it to their friends and co-workers outside the club… I just don’t see the point in charging clubs to visit, when that money is gonna come back to you in some way, shape or form. You don’t have to break a club’s bank to have that happen. **It is reasonable to expect payment for seminars, class instructions & workshops where we are collaborating with for-profit entities (colleges, community colleges, etc.).
So…I’ll end this rant- apologies if I’ve stepped on any toes. This post isn’t meant to be malicious- it can’t help but be judgmental so…sorry about that. I just want all the book clubs out there to know that AlTonya Washington loves to talk and I don’t need you all to pay me to do that. Purchasing my books, sharing one maybe two and then telling your good buddies to go buy the rest is all the payment I need. Needless to say, the club members I spoke to (and there were A LOT of book club members on hand for last Saturday’s awesome event) were stunned when I told them I don’t charge. They were stunned and happy to hear that news. Think about that author colleagues- we love happy readers. 🙂
If your club is thinking of putting an AlTonya Washington title on its reading list, reach-out to me and let’s make a plan.
Thanks for letting me vent- comments are welcome and appreciated.