Would You Work For Nothing? Why I Don’t Believe in “Free”

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)The current conventional wisdom is that the ONLY way for authors to find readers is to give books away. At least give one away and then all the readers who took advantage of the free offer will love your book so much they’ll come back and buy your other books.

Maybe they will. After they read the other hundred or so free books they have in their TBR pile.

Get noticed! Get on the bestseller lists by giving your books away. Only you’re not a best “seller.” You are a best “giver.”

In an economy where the price of everything has risen in recent years, books are not only cheap, they are free. Why? Does a book have less value than a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? Do you go to the supermarket and look to see what they are giving away today? Or the gas station or the mall? When’s the last time the movie theater didn’t require you to pay for your ticket or your popcorn?  

No one is giving anything away except authors. Maybe it’s a result of the glut of books on the market. But even if you’re giving your books away you are just one of the thousands of authors who are doing the same thing. You’re going to stand out how? By writing such a brilliant book that the free readers will flock to buy your others?

I’ve read a couple of outstanding books in the past year. Some of those were by fellow Samhain authors Sophie H. Morgan and Donna June Cooper. One was a free book which was the start of a series by Jeffrey Archer. (I’ve resisted buying the second book—even though I’d very much like to read it—as the digital version is priced at $9.99! Yikes!) Cooper’s and Morgan’s books are in the $5 and under range. I either purchased their books or they were given to me by the authors in exchange for honest reviews.

While I don’t believe an ebook should be priced the same as a print version since there’s no cost for printing and paper and shipping, I don’t believe in free either. The same amount of work went into the book (writing, editing, cover, formatting).

You might get one of my books for free if you won a contest or entered a Goodreads giveaway. Maybe you’ll read it. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll love it and check out my other books. Maybe you’ll buy them. Maybe you won’t.

All I know is I’ve worked since I was sixteen. None of my employers ever suggested I shouldn’t get paid. I wonder why so many authors began suggesting it to themselves. I mean I love a good sale as much as anyone but I also wonder how many readers who take advantage of free books would be willing to work for nothing.

#authors #free #books