Monday, September 2, 2013

Giving Away My Work

recently had a conversation with a fellow writer I respect who set out a reasonable explanation for giving away my work for free. (Not a unique event.)

It's hard to argue with someone who's selling a lot of books.

But I look at my personal practice: I "buy" maybe a dozen free books a week. I only read maybe two a week, so my tablet is overflowing with books. If I find an author I like from her free book, I agree I might be nudged to buy her next…but then…I have 800 more to read already. So why should I?

I struggle to get past that question.

I can't help but bristle over my peers giving away their art which they worked months on, diluting the market. But, I can't blame them, can I, if it's working?

My chest expands with frustration.

I'll be publishing the sequel to SEEker this month…I'm considering pushing SEEker and PKM into KDP Select and making them free to encourage sale of their sequels. The thought makes me want to scream though.

It reminds me of consulting companies pressing me to tweak my resume to look better for a particular job. Is it right, just because everyone does it ?


  1. I think in the long run it does help the author.

    In the early years it bothered me to give my work away because hey, I only had one book out at the time, but now I'm more generous. I'm not looking at it as lost sales, but rather an opportunity to find new readers.

    Does it work for everyone? Probably not. But that's part of the gamble.

    In many ways, I feel I wasted my traditionally published books because the publisher stopped pushing the book within weeks of its release. So now I'm waiting the seven years to get those books back. At least with self-published titles there is no expiration date. What doesn't sell well this year, might sell more next year.


  2. Free cheapens all of us. Maybe $2.99 could be a $4.99, or $5.99 norm.

  3. I've read a lot of pros and cons posts on this subject. Some authors are convinced it's the panacea of sales. Others, like you, question the direct outcome. Curious. I guess part of the hope is if someone reads it for free, they will post a review and that will further sales? Best to you, whichever you decide.

  4. I've done the free on both my contemporary work and my Regencies. Speaking only from my own experience, it doesn't work.

    I tried it back when it was popular when free was the new black and all it got me was 3700 downloads and no reviews. I think of all that money I could have made and want to punch myself.

    However, as an alternative, what I've found is if you price the first book in a series to .99 cents, people tend to buy that. and once they like you, they'll keep coming back for more. $2.99 and $3.99 seems to be the sweet spot these days. But .99cents is the incentive.

    You can try that and see if it works. Give it a couple of months and if you want to go free, you always have that option.

    Hope you're well. Are you back in Texas?

  5. I'm not crazy about free, either. I could see giving away a free book as a contest, but that's about it.

    I'm particulary not crazy about KDP Select, since I don't own a Kindle, I own a Nook.