Here’s something the average reader may not know: Most authors at some point think making our ebooks free seems like a good idea. Once it’s free, we see a spike of downloads — “Look at my ranking! This is amazing!” …And then we don’t see much after that. But we keep trying, because it’s a good way to get our books “out there” and maybe build up our audience. And, quite frankly, everyone else is doing it so we feel like we have to or else we’ll get lost in the shuffle.
Unfortunately, ebook consumers are “trained” to look for freebies — “why pay $0.99 for a book that might be a dud when I can get this other one for free?” But a lot of free ebooks get lost to the sad end of a rotating Kindle carousel, never to be looked at again. Admit it, we all have them (I’m including myself here).
People love free stuff, but this devalues the product in more ways than one. When something’s free, in a way it becomes just more stuff tossed into the mental “oh, I’ll get to that at some point” pile because we don’t have much invested in its existence. I think that’s why authors can get 10,000 downloads but maybe only see 1-2 reviews as a result — “it wasn’t any work to get the book, so why do the work of giving this free thing any praise?”
Some authors I know DO have success with giving it away for free. But, if we’re being honest, it’s not the majority of us. And by constantly making ebooks free, I think we’re hurting all of us. People already have an under-appreciation for artistic work (I know several musicians and painters who’d also agree with me on this), and making our art free because it’s expected just feels…wrong. I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked, “Oh, can I have a copy of your book?” and expected it for free. It’s a little insulting and soul-crushing to be told your hours of work, sweat, and eye-strain aren’t even worth $0.99. I would hope, however, that if anyone really stopped and thought about it they would agree that our little artist hearts deserve some monetary compensation.
I’m not saying we should all make our ebooks $9.99. I’m certainly not saying free ebooks aren’t just as good as $$ ebooks. But I have a lot of respect for authors who place their books at X-amount of dollars and say, “You know what, I worked hard on this. I promise it’s worth your money. I humbly ask that you please respect my value as an artist and give me what this is worth.”
Anyway, when my books are ever free anymore,
I will be giving them away.
I like actually connecting with people, connecting with readers. I like the idea that I can occasionally show my appreciation to my loyal friends/family/fans/readers by offering free book gifts. Even if that means only reaching 4-10 people at a time instead of 10,000+, I know my chances of connection are better this way and I don’t feel like I’m selling out or caving to the pressure of the established system. It’s very freeing, which is after all what being an Indie is all about. 🙂
So. Now that I have released my first short story “The Woman of the Void,” I’d like to give away some paperbacks. They all come pre-signed with my signature, so hopefully you like that personal touch.
If you’d like to follow me on Twitter (or if you already are), you can use this link to enter the Amazon Giveaway I just started. CLICK FOR CHANCE TO WIN!
If you’re on Goodreads, you can enter the Giveaway on the book’s page here. CLICK FOR CHANCE TO WIN!
I’ll be running more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned. I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my books, and for ANY book you read, know that that author would love to hear from you.
Reblogged this on jasongreensides.
Reblogged this on D.M.Cain.
What a beautiful post. It actually makes me sad that I have given away my books for free. You’re right – our work should get the credit it deserves.