It is time. The sharing economy ain’t what they tell you it is.
Take a page from Rupert Murdoch’s playbook; you think he ever gave away anything for free? When is the last time you saw a free Stephen King book? How about Anne Rice? J. K. Rowling?
Back in 2011, 2012, or 2010 when eBooks were new we all did it, I did it, made some books free to boost exposure and get sales going. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. It was delusion, desire, wishing on a horse to ride.
And back then it was all 99¢ eBooks too. It looks really cheap with the “¢” sign instead of $.99 doesn’t it? How’d that work out for you? People waited to get your book free and knew if you were only asking 99¢ you didn’t think much of your work either. “But, but, I did it to offer a sale price to get customers.” We all did, we are all guilty. The big publishers do offer their books at a discount to boost sales and introduce a new book – but they do it at $2.99-$3.99.
You know too that in the heady early days of self-publishing that there was a cavalcade or crap, a tsunami of shit being thrown at the new market. Free eBooks to promote websites and how to get rich and influence people, really bad books that were full of typos, bad grammar, and dumb stories, terrible romance and erotica hacked out, vampire/paranormal/dumb tripe, you name it – all free or 99¢ flooding the market and burying some really good stuff. And lets not forget 50 Shades of Grey, you know it was tripe, but it was free fan fiction and happened to catch with mainstream publishers desperate to latch on to something all those online readers would want.
And what was happening with all this free? Why people were throwing together garbage or having it written by offshore word mills and gaming the system to become best sellers and con people out of money.
It’s 2015. EBooks are a much more mature market. Amazon only allows free books when you sign up for Amazon Prime and you give them exclusive publishing rights for your book. (You used to be able to make your book free on Apple iBooks and then Amazon would match it and it would then be free on Amazon. We all did that, but it is over now.) Even people with a modicum of fame are saying no to free.
No more giving your work away, no more free to build sales, no more 99¢ books unless it is a limited promotion and you go back to a reasonable price after. And make your book quality. If you have not had a tough editor go through it and make you do it right then don’t put it out there. You are the gatekeeper, the quality control. You don’t like reading bad books full of errors and typos, why would you expect others to pay you for the same? This is old, but still applies: https://www.syeopub.com/is-your-book-good-enough/
I made sure that I no longer have any free eBooks out there, all my books are priced fairly, it is always a struggle to go through the editing process, but I do it. I pay artists for their work and fix errors even when I don’t want to and re-do things.
What would happen if you asked for your lunch to be free?
So, why are you giving your work away or selling it for a pittance?