Today I want to take a look at a marketing ploy that seems to pervade our little world. The idea that writers should put their work up for free to gain exposure. Yeah, well, people can die from exposure, you know. Seriously, for free? First, let me say that, I’ve tried it. More than once. Did I get more exposure? Yes. Did it help my income? Not really. As one author recently told me, “There have been over 600 downloads of my free book in the last month, but I haven’t seen an increase in sales.” Yeah, been there too.
So, how does that work? Well, in theory, people will read the free book, enjoy your story and style, then buy more of your books. That’s the theory. In the early days of self-publishing, it probably worked. For a few people. Now? I saw a tweet where someone claimed to have over a thousand free books on her kindle. Okay. Smashwords has 58,623 free books up for grabs right now. Getting the idea?
My fellow writers, you have worked months, sometimes years, to get that book ready for market. Do you truly want to give it away? You’ve sweat blood over that manuscript. You’ve done the work, dammit, you deserve to be paid. Have a sale, yes. Drop the price for a promotion, sure, but you’re a professional. Act like it. Expect, and insist, to be paid for your work.
Oh, the book in the picture? I tried giving it away for free once. Waste of time and energy. However, a new edit, new cover, and away you go. It’s selling again. Life is good. The point of my rant? The point is, there are options. Giving the book away for free just implies you’re desperate. That devalues your work in the eyes of the buying public. Don’t do it.
End of rant.
Until next time, have a great weekend and pause to enjoy the little moments.