I'll be talking about my latest frustration with this whole book business in a minute. I warn you, it's going to be a bit of a ramble.
First though I want to thank everyone who has been commenting lately and ask forgiveness for the lack of responses.
I have not been doing at all well and have been fighting a lot of things health-wise and life-wise and that really takes it out of you. I have read every comment though and appreciate them greatly. Thank you.
I do have an 'up' story to tell you as soon as I can- about a rare victory I had the other night over some of the things that hold me down and how it felt- but I have to find the words first.
In the meantime, the question of the day is, how the hell do you compete with free?
When there are so many readers who now ONLY get their reading material from the free offerings available, how do you get your book noticed? And when authors use KDP or other means to make their books available for free then claim thousands of 'sales'...how do you keep your sanity?
The word is downloads, people, downloads. Not sales. Even if Amazon is paying you your portion. You cannot sell something for free.
I think this whole free issue is one of the more unsettling issues facing writers right now, along with marketing practices in general. As in, 'why is it wrong for me to tweet about my book regularly and/or from more than one Twitter account but the same 'marketing experts' telling me not to are doing it all the time to promote their own shi...er...stuff?'
(I think the answer to that last one is it's annoying no matter who does it and sends me for the 'unfollow' button every time. I don't want to annoy people so I don't do it, no matter who says it's okay or not. I am not a squeaky wheel and therefore get less exposure, good or bad. But I'd rather be able to stand myself than sell a few more books by irritating everyone I come in contact with.)
Do YOU have an answer to the 'how do you compete with free' question? (and please don't tell me to write another book-- why that is not my plan is a subject I intend to address in another post on another day.)
Because I think the answer is that you can't compete with free, and since getting the story out there has always been what mattered to me, I should have followed my gut which told me to give my book away from the beginning.
It's never been about sales for me- I am not trying to make a living as a writer.
For me writing is purely about art- I don't want to be part of the business side of it-- that's why I've turned down opportunities I've had to make GODSPEED more of a business than it already is just by existing on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am not built to survive that machinery.
I just want people to read my book, and it hurts to know there are many readers who never will if they have to pay for it, even less than a dollar. I'll admit that is a little more than disheartening given the going rate of a pack of chewing gum. But it is what it is.
How would you feel three months after your book came out if you realized that people were only 'buying' what they could get for free? I think you can understand why I'm a little sad about it all right now.
I'm thinking I should just put the thing online like I intended to originally...and have done with the rest.
After all, free is what the people want. Maybe it's just time to give it to them.
I remember, though, how it felt when I suggested long ago I was going to do that-- give my book away for free-- and authors of other books came out of the woodwork and over here and yelled at me, basically telling me if I did so then I devalued their book which they were trying to sell for three dollars or less. That free devalued everyone's work.
I don't know if it's the work it devalues, (is art worthless if no one will put a price on it? I don't think that's necessarily so but I suppose many would) but I do think that it is going to make it a lot harder in the future for anyone who does want to make a living at writing to do so if the only 'price' people are willing to pay for a book is nothing at all.
Will these free 'sales' now cost us a lot more in the future than we realize?
I think if people get too used to getting all their books for free, then the answer is going to be yes.