My Dad, who was–by any measure–a wonderful guy, used to warn me that there was no such thing as a “free puppy.” As a child, I agreed with him, because who in their right mind would give away a perfectly good dog? With age (I hesitate to claim maturity) and the responsibility for buying food, paying the vet, and all the rest, I eventually figured out what he meant.
Now I feel almost as though I’m engaged in giving away free puppies. Sorta. They’re actually books, which require way less care and feeding. But they do come with obligations. The reader is expected to make a stab at actually reading the work. Assuming I’ve done my job and have written a book worth reading, the reader should have little trouble getting through it. (I hate dull books, by the way, and that applies to reading as well as writing.)
So, what other obligation is there? Well, none, technically. Or legally. Or even, I suppose, morally. What I fervently hope, of course, is that readers will be so pleased by what they’ve read that they’ll eagerly post glowing words of praise. Sunshine will pierce the clouds over my home; song birds will migrate to my backyard; the lawn will henceforth mow itself, etc. All perfectly rational expectations, right?
What I’m told is that none of that is likely to happen, including the reviews. But hope springs eternal, and the final date of the book giveaway looms ever closer.
Imagine painting something so good that you wanted to share it with the world. And several people came for a look. And then they left without saying anything.
Sometimes free puppies come–and go–without a leash.