IS A FREE BOOK REALLY WORTH IT TO AN AUTHOR?
I wanted to try and promote my work over a long period of time by dangling a huge ‘carrot’ under the noses of all those lovely people – our readers.
As an experiment I reduced one of my books to zero for nearly six months, monitoring my sales on a regular basis. The good news was that Drabbles ‘N’ Shorts stayed just inside or outside of the top 100 for fiction, collections etc. for most of that time. I was so pleased with the number of downloads, but how about reviews? Maybe I received ten or even a few more? Not a chance for after all that time there were none at all.
I remember an author telling me last year that most freebie books are unlikely to be read let alone receive a review. It would seem that with so many books offered gratis, readers download as often as they wish and then forget about them. Yet those that are paid for somehow urge the readers to leave a comment - perhaps to complain - or simply to have their say.
I have spoken to other authors and it is clear from them, and my own experiences that free books have a limited effect on reviews, even with a decent number of downloads.
The doors to self publication have been opened wide by the efforts of the internet giants and as an author, I am grateful. Alas the pendulum has swung too much in their favour as authors already receive scant reward for all their hard work. Yet there is an alternative which would suit both authors and publishers.
If readers could no longer download a book for free the author and the publisher would both gain. Whilst readers would need to pay a small amount- and surely 0.99cents or 0.99pence is much cheaper than a coffee – they would choose more wisely. I am convinced that the number of reviews would increase as folk would feel the need to read what they have purchased.
So what should I do next?
I would like to think that all of you would want to be paid for your work and if you can find a way to put pressure on the big-players, then do let me know and I’ll join you.
In the meantime I have learnt a valuable lesson, so no more free books ... ever.
From today, Drabbles 'N' Shorts and Shorts 'N' Drabbles will be priced at 0.99p in the UK and 0.99c in the US. That's still a bargain for such diverse collections which have something for all tastes.