Monday, 15 April 2013

Free For All

Hey all,

I’m rather certain that I’m 95% of the way done with From Ash. The covers are more or less finished, the editing is pretty much done on the final draft, and all that’s left is an afternoon of formatting the document to comply with ebook guidelines (most of which I’ve set up from the get go). This means that you don’t have to keep hearing me talk about how little I’ve done on the editing anymore—the next announcement should be a link to the book’s Amazon page, along with a heads up as to the free days that I’m going to be giving it away on.

Let’s talk about that word for a bit—‘free.’ Free tends to get a bit of a bad rep when it comes to media, whether in print or digital formats. Since the advent of the internet, and more significantly, Napster, pirating copies of works and giving them away for free have been seen as the final sign of the coming apocalypse. Record companies blame pirating for the collapse of their infrastructures, films come with FBI warnings, and software is loaded down with DRM.

I, however, come from at ‘free’ from a different approach—I embrace it. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m younger, or if it’s because I’ve actually put the effort into looking at the numbers, but there is money in giving things away for free. Now, let me explain, because it might not necessarily be obvious as to what I mean. has a program (KDP select) where if you put your book only on their site, and no one else’s, for 90 days, you get a bunch of bonuses. A few of these are odd things to do with getting money when people with Amazon prime rent your book, or something that I don’t fully understand—but more importantly, you get 5 free days out of the 90 in which you can give away your book and Amazon eats the bandwidth charge. I’ve seen people who can’t sell 10 books flip on the ‘free’ button and get 25,000 downloads in a 24 hours. Mind you, they make no money off of this directly, but they do get exposure and often their other books start to move, especially if the free book is/was good.

Now, I’m not advocating that authors should just be giving their work away for free, we still need to be paid. What I am saying is that you can use free to work to your advantage, and in doing so, make more money.

Here’s a very nice Neil Gaiman interview in which he talks about this very thing:

There are always people out there, no matter how big or how small you are that still haven’t heard about you and your work. That video is evidence enough to prove this—Neil Gaiman being massively famous.

I guess this turned out to be one of those ‘Trevor talks about the more internal aspects of publishing,’ posts. If you all find these terribly boring, leave a comment (it should be waaaay easier now). Either way, I’m sure next time I’ll have something more me to talk about as I leap back into Dreamstate II.

Oh, also, I don’t put DRM on any of my books when offered the choice (99% of the time). I want people to share my writing with their friends.


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