Give it away, give it away, give it away now!
Giving your book away for free.
Should you? Could you? Shame on you?
Today's blog is all about the perception that giving away your ebook for free is a good idea.
Or is it really about the perception that writers and artists in general are unworthy of making a living from their work?
By the end of this blog, there will be no doubt in your mind. There is no doubt in mine!
To start things off, why don't we look at the people who might want to read your book - the buying public as they say.
Basically, there are two categories of the book reading public.
Those who buy and those who don't. There is no grey area here, it's as black and white as you can get.
Those who buy.
Isn't there a passage in the Old Testament about 'Blessed be the book buyers'? Or was that 'cheese makers'? (right Big Nose?)
The buying public who actually spend money and buy my book or your book are the salt of the earth. They have sensed the worth of our creation and decided to take a chance and spend a few bucks. An exchange of money/energy takes place and the buyer gets the goods and the author gets a sense of self-worth and acknowledgement.
This also affects writers in a collective sense as it keeps the value of books high and doesn't dilute and devalue them.
Those who don't.
Isn't there a passage in the Old Testament that goes 'and the Lord cast out the vermin from the book store'?
Now, before I get my sharpest blades out, let me assure you that there is only one exception.
If, per chance, you are having a hard time financially or you're a senior on a very fixed income or just down on your luck - I empathize. I've been there and it sucks big time. So, if you find yourself in this exceptional category then I have no beef with you and if downloading a free book from Amazon gives you pleasure and lightens your day - you go for it! As long as it's a legit download. More on this later.
But for everyone else - Shame on you, you cheap bastards!
If I, or any other writer, has uploaded their creation onto a book selling site, we did so to sell books. If we wanted to write a book, just to say we did and stroke it off our 'to do' lists, then that book would be collecting dust on our book shelves.
When you graduated from med school, did you perform your first 50 lobotomies for free?
After you replaced the drainpipe and wiggled your ass crack showing plumber's butt out from under the sink, did you say, "no charge, I do this for free!"?
Of course not!
Those who don't. Those who never do. The thieves.
Isn't there a passage in the Old Testament about the 'SCUM of the earth'?
Could there be anything more vile than someone who illegally downloads intellectual property?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes - the person who steals intellectual property and creates illegal download websites for the other scum to download from.
Both are thieves, plain and simple. There is a special place in hell for the likes of you!
Why oh why, would anyone think it a good idea to price your book for free?
Are you out of your freakin mind?
Here are the usual excuses.
1/ Lure them in.
Since there are millions of other writers out there vying for the same buying public, why not lure them in by pricing your book for free. A loss-leader as it's called in supermarkets near you.
(Ya, that's right! I just compared your book to a can of spam.)
Create a buzz and interest for your next book release by giving your first book away for free.
Does this sound like a good idea to you?
I think it's a shite idea. Did you spend all those hours, days, weeks, years creating your wonderful book only to give it away for free. Let's calculate your hourly rate?
Now, zero divided by zero equals zero so your hourly rate is..............ZERO!
Seriously, what does that do for your self-esteem as a writer?
What message does that send to the buying public?
Why would I ever buy a book when every Tom, Dick and Sherie gives them away for free?
Writing must not be their full-time gig. It must be a hobby because they don't value their own work.
If you're idiotic idea to give away your book only affected you - then that would be fine. But it doesn't affect only you - it affects all writers! By giving it away for free you de-value all books and all writers because most of the buying public groups us all together.
So, stop giving your book away for free! At the very least, do the rest of us a favour and at least charge the bare minimum which I believe is $2.99. What do you think would happen if there were no more ebooks on Amazon for $0.00?
The buying public would pay to buy your ebook. I know, I know, it's a strange concept and idea but what choice would they have? In this society, an exchange of money/energy for a good or service is expected and anything offered for free may be consider suspect.
Now, this happens in other intellectual property areas as well. I'm also a film music composer and newbie composers are always offering their services for free. This has the same effect, as Directors and Producers begin to believe that this is the norm and balk at the real value of an original score from someone with experience and credentials. My point is that you're messing things up for the rest of us - so stop already!
Some bloggers advise you to give it away for free to obtain those all important reviews so the buying public has more to go on. And I agree. But where I disagree is how you go about this.
Most importantly, don't give your book away to everyone on sites like Amazon! Target your best reviewers with individual requests via email. If you do it correctly and politely, lots of reviewers will ask for your ebook or paperback. If you don't want to go through all the trouble then spend a few bucks on sites like BooksGoSocial who will hook you up with reviewers on NetGalley. I've used BooksGoSocial and was very pleased with the results - over 70 reviewers downloaded my ebook for review.
The site is secure so you don't have to worry about said 'SCUM' pirating your book.
That's it! That's all!
Stand in front of the mirror tomorrow, first thing. Look yourself in the eye and with conviction say, "I'm worthy. I have self-respect. I deserve to get paid for my work. I will change the price of my book for my own good and the good of all writers! And, I hope I never run into C.M. Hindmarsh in a secluded back alley! Whew!"
Doesn't that feel better?