Lately I’ve seen a lot of posts about writers dying or in the hospital with an appeal to buy their books to show support. I don’t think it’s insensitive of me to question this practice. I’m not the most “with it” person, but none of these appeals have been attached to people I’ve heard of. Their success seems to be completely tied to their illness or injury. Are they even legitimately ill?
And more importantly: Would you buy the book if the writer wasn’t experiencing publicized unfortunate circumstances?
Pity purchases seem to be the trend, and I find it disgusting. Lots of people experience tragedy. Many writers get sick, break bones, get into car accidents, find cancer, or worse. Almost none of them publicize it. Asking for pity purchases lacks integrity. Two years ago, I suffered a horrible accident that left me unable to write. It took all my concentration and energy to make it through each day. I took a 4-month break from writing because focusing on my day job was all I could handle. I didn’t post my problem or ask for pity purchases. I didn’t even talk about it until I had recovered.
If the only way you can sell a novel is by putting it out there as a pity purchase, you need to get out of the writing business. Your “success” is fleeting, lasting only as long as Facebook keeps your meme/message alive. I could use a boost in sales–I still need to replace my windows and doors. We all would welcome more people buying and reading our work. However I don’t want that to happen through pity. I want it to happen because people like my books and tell others about them. Cancer runs in my family, and I’m going to tell you right now that if I get cancer, I’d want you to donate to a research charity. Buying my books won’t cure me, and pity doesn’t cheer me up.