Giving It Away

‘Tis the season, as they say –– but I find myself having trouble just giving it away … and I’m talking about copies of my newest book, UPWARD DOG.
For my previous five books, I had traditional publishers and they would mail you the author’s pre-negotiated box of books on schedule.  And, since I always had lots of press things in the works, they were always pretty amenable to sending another bunch of books whenever I requested them.
But self-publishing this one as an experiment, it’s entirely different.
I have to pay for each one that’s manufactured, no discounts and no freebies.  I’m very keenly aware that I’m “giving it away” each time I hand someone a book from my small stash.
We have a new friend in SF who is genuinely oblivious towards all cash transactions, honestly believing that everything evens itself out and that it’s unnecessary (and unattractive) to keep track.
I, however, much like I always more or less know exactly what time it is, am also aware of how much I’m spending.
On our second-to-last cruise in the Caribbean, Susan suggested that it would be great for me energetically to just let go and randomly and indiscriminately give away a hundred books.  That, however, represents over $1,000 which tests the boundaries of both my PR budget and my generosity at the moment.
I have actually loved giving away the ebook not only because doesn’t cost anything –– except for one scary day when we had too much traffic and it shut down the Upward Dog site, requiring an upgrade –- but also because I genuinely WANT TO SHARE the book with people.  It’s all too easy to forget that’s why you write the book in the first place:  there’s something you actually feel like sharing with the world.
The rewards of the ebook giveaway have been really great.  I’ve received tons of emails from readers telling me how much they enjoy the book (and many saying they’re going to buy a hard copy as well).
That said, I have a small stack of books left over from the NYC signing and beyond obvious publicity requests, I’ve been figuring out what to do with them.
It’s funny how many little tugs I feel around this, trying to find “worthy candidates” to give them to.
For example, in one set of our new San Francisco friends, one person (the CHARLOTTE of the SEX IN THE CITY quartet) missed both signings and hasn’t gotten a book yet.  I’ve thought of gifting her one, but then I keep thinking “that’s not fair!” to the others who all bought books.
And there are definitely a few other key people in my life who haven’t bought one yet and I wonder “why not?” (Hard to not start counting up all the charity events and theater shows and birthday dinners I’ve attended out of friendly obligation).
Dan (while channeling) suggested I adopt the “Post-It” theory about those folks;  namely, that they have a Post-It somewhere on their desk saying “Buy Edward’s New Book” and that it’s all in process.
[And, as we all know, sometimes post-its just lose their stick-um and like autumn leaves, fall behind the computer monitor to remain lost behind the desk.]
So now that I’ve determined that I want to free up the energy around this, what should the criterion be for giving the book away?
Is it the recipient’s poverty?  (Although I still think that even my poorest yoga teacher/starving artists friends can scrape together $25, right…?)
Or is it just because I want you to have it (ie, I can check you off my list of close friends who now own the book…)
My best-feeling thought is making it Belle-related;  pretty much that whoever is really into her during our daily ramblings gets handed one a souvenir/reward for appreciating her beauty and awesomeness.
Today I experimented with that.  We had to make a deposit at the bank for an automatic transfer and I remembered how much the bank guy loved Belle, how he and his girlfriend are thinking of getting a dog, and how he had a black lab growing up.
So I actually climbed back up Telegraph Hill and down again to retrieve a copy before stopping into Wells Fargo, just so I could hand him one if it felt right.
Sure enough, our account officer not only made a beeline for us, he also remembered Belle and my names, and promptly offered her a treat.  Obviously, he is MORE than Free-Book-Worthy so I handed him one, looking at his desk name plate before I autographed it.
True, this was neither random nor indiscriminate, but it did feel like it was helping to Free Up energy around this.
As an Emotional Projector, my Not Self expresses itself via bitterness … and this definitely sweetened things up a bit.
As yesterday’s blog shared, I’m getting better and better at not keeping score all the time.
I don’t think I can ever be blind to the score (for me that would feel like “fake obliviousness”), but I can focus on it less intently.  I can soften my reactions towards it in this arena, particularly since in general and in other contexts, GENEROSITY is one of my real virtues (ask anyone.)
(But let’s face it, even Saint Nick is said to keep a list of who’s naughty and nice, and if it’s good enough for Santa …)

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