Giving Away Ebooks For Free

Giving Away Ebooks For Free
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I don’t believe in giving my work away for free.

And I’m not sure why writers are doing this either – what benefit is there? Now I’m not talking about offering your list something fun for free, as you are building relationships with them. That’s different. Though if you are constantly giving your books for free to your list – why do you even have a list? You do realize that you can make money doing this, right?

Let me tell you a bit about my ebook buying habits, now that I’ve been “trained.” First of all, I don’t “buy” ebooks – why bother when I can get them all for free? I have a library of around 30,000 ebooks – and I maybe paid for 10 of them. Maybe. Probably more like 4. Either way. I have built a rather large library on free ebooks. And this doesn’t mean I prefer print, though I do, I’m not buying much in the way of books right now. As in spending real money. My read through is abysmal – I read the free book(s) in the series, then move on to my next free book. And in most cases, I can read an entire series for free! I often forget to leave reviews on book buying sites (though I do usually review on my book review blog (coming soon!)), so what value is the writer getting from me reading their book?

And this is someone who believes in helping authors, and I do – I’m just more selective now. I have my fave authors like everyone else (take my money now!) and there are a series or two that I’m considering buying. Granted, right now money is tight, and a million other reasons why I love free books. But I’m being trained to expect free.

Giving Away Ebooks For Free
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Putting your books for free (because you aren’t “selling” a free book) just seems like a bad gamble to me. Full of wishes and hopes that may or may not come true. You’re hoping that they buy more books, which is doubtful for most as they are giving away damn near their entire backlist AND new releases for free at some point or another. You’re hoping they sign up for your list, which they probably will as they want more free stuff. You’re hoping they leave a review, and they might – either a well thought out one that provides actual value to your incoming customers, or a scathing one that has nothing to do with the book because they read two pages and assumed a lot.

Plus you are all missing something that I feel is vital – people do not value free items. At all. And we are training readers to expect our work for free. I can’t think of another medium where everyone is giving away free work regularly. Anyone remember the backlash when U2 gave their latest album away for free to iTunes subscribers? It wasn’t pretty. There was very little gratitude, and a whole lot of hate. At the rate we writers are going, we’ll be giving away everything for free, never making a dime off our work – and wondering what happened. I really do believe we are doing ourselves a disservice here.

Do you give your work away for free? Why or why not? Let me know in comments! Are you a reader? Chime in!

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Starting At Zero

Starting At Zero
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Starting at zero can be scary.

It’s daunting to have a blank canvas of work, regardless of your creative medium. For writers, it’s like staring at a much larger blank page. The possibilities are endless, and the direction you choose is wholly up to you. Many creatives suffer at this stage, especially when it comes to the quality of their work – it’s not ready, it’s not good enough, whatever excuse you can think of usually starts at the blank slate. Impostor syndrome usually rears it’s ugly head right about now.

There are really real concerns about quality at this point, and they are often valid – but how will you ever get better if you don’t receive feedback?

The main feedback we look for is our audience, whether or not they are paying for our work. The only way to get that sort of feedback is to ship out the product, no matter the medium, and let them into our worlds. Yes, you can get “better” listening to editors, or by practicing over and over again. But the widest range of feedback comes from our audience. An editor, proofreader, or whatever editorial type works for your medium can suggest ways to improve your craft, but that is usually only one opinion. And it is an opinion, make no bones about it. It may not even be a “good” opinion.

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Now I’m not suggesting that you don’t have your book edited, or something similar for other creative mediums. Just to remember that it is an opinion – and one you do not have to accept. Get your project out into the wild to get the widest amount of feedback possible, then do it again.

Do the work, get it out to your editor and then your audience.

And that doesn’t mean revise it 20 times. Set a revision limit on yourself, from 0-3 drafts, then let it go. I personally feel that other than touching a few things up, revision is mostly unnecessary. Check for consistency, check for typos and get it out into the world. Some steps may be different in your medium. You do not need validation from an editor anymore, no matter the medium. You can take your creative vision and get it to your audience without any of the gatekeepers of yesteryear. And you’ll often make more money.

You learn by doing, so do it. Then do it again.

There is no greater feeling than having finished a project. Start your next one. Keep going until you are satisfied. Can’t build what isn’t there. Let no one steal your creativity from you, no matter what. Keep delivering what’s in your heart.

How many revisions do you make, or feel you need to make for a project to be “ready”? Are you working on projects of the heart? Let me know in the comments!

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