Monday, June 1, 2015

What Am I Missing?

Before you get your hackles up, let me say this - the following article is written to those who have one or two books out AND they are not a series.

I just don't get it.  My mind can't wrap around the concept.

"It was a fantastic promo. We gave away over 25,000 copies of "XYZ Book Title" and garnered almost 50 reviews.  The book is being noticed.

"Thank you, everyone. Almost 11,000 books given away in 24 hours. Made #1 in free XYZcategory. Hoping for reviews."
What am I missing? Even if the person sold the book for $.99 with a $.35 royalty.  Let me do some calculation...

11,000 X $.35 = $3,500.00   OR  25,000 X $.35 =  $8,750.00

Somebody is thrilled and overjoyed at NOT making any money!! Especially when they could have made $8,750 or even just $3,500.

Go ahead, tell me they now have more readers - more fan base - more... well, anything!


They gave away all those books to a lot of people who may or may NOT read their book. IF they read it, maybe - but, more likely, there will be no review. Notice, I said "IF" they read it.

So what did they gain?

I'll be honest and you're all going to hate me for what I'm about to admit...

When I got my first taste of the Kindle reader app, I bought a couple of books and then discovered the free ones.  Yes, I got myself onto so many sites that offered free books.  I was voracious.  I grabbed everything and anything that even remotely interested me.  Why?  It was free.  I must have downloaded upwards of 700 books.  Yes, my Kindle app was loaded and I could have read for the next few years non-stop.

Now for the truth!

Of all those books I've downloaded, I've only read maybe 10-15 of them to completion.  Oh, sure, I checked out a few more, maybe another 30-40 books but gave up on them shortly after starting due one or more issues: bad formatting, bad writing, bad story, bad... bad... bad.

It was then I realized something I didn't want to accept - free equals bad. You get what you pay for.

There is a reason gold is expensive and poop is basically free for the taking.  Of course, like gold, there is always fool's gold and the unsuspecting reader is going to discover a bad book they paid good money for.

I'm not saying all free books for crap but, a few years back, that was indeed the case.  Not so, too much today.  It is always the caveat - Buyer Beware.

So, if you've spent a lot of time writing your book, editing your work, having it beta-read and even got a professional cover.  Whether or not you invested a few dollars or several dollars...


You're a writer.  Are you writing for the love of it?  In other words, you don't want to make money? Be honest, you want to make money.  If you continue to give away books, you're never going to make money.  Sure you may have umpteen thousand "fans" but if they don't BUY your books, they're not really fans.  Think of it this way - they got the first couple of books for free.  If they hang in there, you'll give this one away, too.  This will sound terrible - they are leeches sucking your creative juices out of you. They're just looking for the next free meal ticket.

IF they really, REALLY like your work, they will buy it.  Think this over.  If you're given a car, sure, you will baby it, but not for long. If it gets a ding, it will hurt for a bit but the next scratch you won't even raise an eyebrow. BUT, if you buy that car, I don't care how many times it gets dinged or scratched, you'll be out there hovering over your baby with a tear in the eye. You might even kiss the boo-boo to make it all better.  Now take that concept to your book.  You gave it away.  The reader owes you nothing since it cost them nothing.  If they read it, fine, if not, no loss to them since they have absolutely NO investment in the book.

The trend today is to give away the book and when not free, offer it for $.99.


Is it worthless or available for a few coins?  If you work full time, tell your boss that you'll come and work for free every Tuesday and Thursday and for a mere $1.99 the other days.  Notice I didn't even mention minimum wage?  $.99 a book isn't even minimum wage for a writer, new or veteran.

You're ready to price your book or do a promo...

THINK ABOUT THAT PRICE and what you are doing... You're setting a precedent!  Readers now think that they can get most books for free - if they hang in there long enough.  I bought a book $4,99 and about two months after I finished it, the author had it for free.  I was a bit miffed.  I was going to buy the next 3 books in the series, but I decided to wait.  Yes, the author listed the next 3 books for free the day the 5th book came available.  Personally, I think that is poor marketing on behalf of the author.  Give away the 1st book, and then establish an escalating price - $.99, $.1.99, and  $2.99 for the next 3 and finally $4.99 for the new book.  I see no issue with giving away the first book in a series to snare the reader, but to give all the books away for free.  Why?  You've already established the precedent that the latest book will be free with the release of the next book.

Think about it.  You've done the work - why give it away?

Until next I ramble on...