First off, can we have a round of applause for the ladies of LL&L who remember to post on-time. I’ve been MIA the past couple times, and I apologize, but ya’ll know the drill. Life = hectic. The day job is keeping me busy, even during my “off hours”, and keeping up with writing, editing, and promotion – not to mention the family – has slap worn me out.
But now that I have that out of the way, let’s get down to brass knuckles. I’m going to stand up and say I am one of the readers who LOVE free books. I’m a cheapskate, true, but Facebook somehow learned I always click on an ad for free books and now my newsfeed is filled with such ads. My TBR pile is growing ever higher, knowing me having time to read is almost laughable. I do read them, maybe not all the way through, but I do at least make an attempt.
As a reader, yes, it’s a good thing. As an author? I’m a bit torn. I have offered two of my self-pubbed books for free. I got maybe 1000 downloads in a couple of days. I was excited watching my ranking at Amazon climb, but I still can’t managed to make the Top 100 overall.
It’s depressing, it really is, when you can’t even GIVE away a book. The sad thing is people read my books apparently and my reviews at Goodreads and Amazon prove that complete strangers actually consider my books a 4 or 5 star. Does this ever translate to sales? Nope. Not really. I only see this surge of reviews when I offer the books for free. My backlist continues to languish.
During my self-pub experience, I’ve learned I should’ve considered my options more before signing with a publisher the past couple of years. To me then, the benefit of knowing “someone in the know” liked my book well enough to contract it convinced me it was worth giving up more than half of my royalties. But being able to chose my cover art, work at my own pace, and set the pricing far outweighs my moral compass, which pointed me in the traditionally pubbed outlets.
I still love my publishers and I’m grateful for each of them. I’ve learned tons from my editors and fellow authors on the loops and such. But obtaining a fantastic set of crit partners, an author friend who excels at line edits, and freelance cover artists give me a freedom I’d never expected.
I was scared I wasn’t “dedicated” enough to make sure my books were properly edited, or spend my own money on covers, etc. but in the couple of months I’ve been self-pubbed I’ve already exceeded my sales in the first month for any of my books. I’m still nowhere near making this a full-time career, but I like the direction this is taking me.
I even enjoy giving away books. I’ve never done this for the money, but the joy I get from seeing people enjoy my books makes it all worth it. For those of you who haven’t self-pubbed, why? And for those of you who read free books, what does it take for you to buy?