December 19th, 2010 / 8:26 pm


77. Is it ever a good idea to give your book away?

14. Relatives of writers really tussle with what to give them; who wants another giant book of 500 bad poems? If asked, what do you tell people?

1. What’s the highe$$$t you’ve ever given for a book, any book? Do tale.

9. You know what writers really need? Nothing but time. I once wrote a grant (a process about as fun as boiling gravel) and received that grant and it was worth several thousand dollars and what did I want, those grrrrrr-anters asked? Time. So they paid someone to teach my class that semester while I wrote (and played a smidgen of disc golf). Time. Capital T. (This an argument for the MFA, BTW, but I don’t wanna start that withered face of an apple turning over.)

111. Who gives a shit? (And he read Jest on tape while night-walking Maine highway shoulders)

018. Advice: Don’t give breached things. It’s general knowledge I’m addicted to hot sauce (a key aspect of nachos). Years ago, a student gave me a bottle of hot sauce (though post final grades in this case, the student gift thing is already weird/odd for me. I never know what to do except discourage). The bottle was open, half contents gone. Another time a friend gave me an expensive bottle of bourbon as congratulations for a life event. He then cracked it open, took a preternatural swig, and drank half the bottle his own self. Don’t.

Does the used book fall under this rule?

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  1. Michael Filippone

      re: 77 – As a gift, or for promotion?
      I’d say maybe for the former, and often for the latter.

  2. M Kitchell

      i specifically ask for used books

      $90 for Martin Vaughn-James’s The Cage, which now goes for $1000+
      $110 for Hermann Nitsch’s the fall of jerusalem

  3. Owen Kaelin

      Amazon card, or Staples card. Simple as that.

  4. Kyle Minor

      Special books people have bought me, all used:

      Men Without Ties, ed. Gianni Versace. (Miniature picture book in which a Barry Hannah story was published for the first time.)
      Autographed copy of Letting Loose the Hounds, by Brady Udall
      Signed first edition of Slaughterhouse-Five
      Set of six rare early Stephen Dixon books
      Set of four out-of-print Don Carpenter hardcovers
      Hardbound copy of Robert Lowell’s Imitations
      First edition of Sabbath’s Theater
      Wm. Gay chapbook
      First editions of Wm. Goyen’s House of Breath and Collected Stories
      Set of three Cecco Angiolieri poems, some translated into English
      Hardcovers of four Rabbit 1st editions

      The set I have I care most about is the hardcover set of Rising Up and Rising Down

  5. reynard seifert


  6. Owen Kaelin

      That’s just the sort of positive attitude that’ll land you a 5-year subscription to Reader’s Digest and the complete set of Monarch’s Notes (first edition, of course).

  7. M. Kitchell

      w/r/t 14a:
      hey-o i had missed that that graham harman book was out yet, thanks!

  8. Cole

      9. I know! But what do we get instead? (if we even get the prizes?) Space. “Leave the apartment you pay rent on, leave the job that pays for the apartment, continue to pay rent somehow, and come stay in this barn in upstate New York. Man, you writers have it made. I wish I could stay in a barn.”

      1. I paid something like 70 dollars for an unexpurgated Seven Pillars of Wisdom published only in England. Conclusion: incident in Dera’a is told pretty much the same way.

      14 & 18: once I taught a writing class where the tuition was a donation from my Amazon wish list. I really liked that. 30 dollars seemed like so much more when it arrived as a package of books.

      14a. My list needs more fiction:

  9. M Kitchell

      w/r/t 14a:
      hey-o i had missed that that graham harman book was out yet, thanks!

  10. NLY

      I have a nasty habit of reading books that aren’t mine regardless of their owner’s views on the matter.
      As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to give people books that I don’t want to read, in order to avoid this dilemma.

  11. alanrossi

      if you drank the other half the bottle with him, the bourbon thing seems only barely unreasonable. if not, then okay.

      i bought a first edition auden (the dyer’s hand) once as a gift for a friend because i knew certain things about the friend. the book was brittle and crackly. i paid around 100.

      having too much Time to write can be a dangerous thing.

      all courses not being relative, what do you typically shoot in disc golf? sean, you teach in ohio? have you played other courses in other ohio cities?

  12. Richard Thomas

      77. Sure. I’ve given it to people that are particularly supportive. I’ve given copies to people that I thought would get me good exposure, my copies, not copies my press sent.

      14. I always say Amazon gift card, I know, why feed the beast. But I’d gladly take store credit at any local used bookstore too, but it’s easier for my family to figure out Amazon. Staples is a good suggestion – always need pens, journals, ink, paper, right? A subscription to a journal that either the author has been asking about or a place that may be new to that author, someplace that you (as a writer) know they should be reading – the more indie the better: Annalemma, Hobart, Juked, PANK, etc.

      1. Ah, I have an extensive collection of books, my Stephen King is worth over $10,000. I have a lot of Palahniuk too. Most I spent was I think $300 for a first edition of Salem’s Lot. Also spent around that for signed/limited editions. I’ve also spent $30-75 for books that are now worth three, four times that. But I value my signed copies of Knockemstiff and AM/PM and The Fighter as much as the bigger names.

      9. That’s awesome. I wish I knew how to write grants. More power to you.

  13. sp

      $400 for a first edition of “The Fifty-Year Sword” by Mark Z. Danielewski. Because I am an idiot.