Is Free a Good Idea?
One of the most exciting things I accomplished (well sort of) was my first book, An Illegal Affair. But due to the irresponsibility of getting involved with someone in a what was a doomed relationship, I truly neglected my book with this wonderful story telling.
The good news is (actually the greatest news), the relationship ended and I had the opportunity to work on the rewrites on my book, and, I should put a date on when it will actually re- debut, but not now LOL. I need for this to be perfect.
Which leads me to this, people take the time to write, novels, series, a collection of short stories, self-help, business and “how to”, etc. Why would we want to give away our hard work?
Let’s dive into the world of makeup. Big business. As a matter of fact, the cosmetic industry is a billion dollar industry, and in sharing the revenues, Fenty branding by Rianna, Kylie Jenner, and even Jeffree Star (and for the record I purchase nothing of Jeffree Star or Kylie), however, regardless of “fan favorites”, people will buy makeup in the hopes they will pursue the looks of “the stars” or even just brag about who they are wearing.
With the rise of YouTube, social influencers, one of the many tutorials you will find is makeup tutorials. From the black/brown sisters featuring makeup that fits our skin color to the lighter sisters presentation of how to perfect that smoky eye, makeup companies have taken advantage of this type of resource by creating PR lists where they can share their products with these influencers knowing they will feature their products on video or even sponsor their videos, giving the viewer the opportunity to either buy the product…or not but also giving the influencer the opportunity to make money by providing an offer code at checkout.
That being said, cosmetic companies can utilize the value of the influencer by how much they sell, other than just views, but also reading comments and understanding what the public is looking for to avoid product failures.
Now how does that fit into the world of writers?
Well, writers can do the same thing and while writer reviews may not dominate the world of cosmetics, people still like to read and have favorite authors they treasure by keeping a physical collection in their library.
Anyone who’s self-published, have a variety of opportunities to reach a public or a market who may not know about them or their works. Book fairs, a marketplace they can pay to have their books reviewed and promoted on social media or even my magazine for that matter, book clubs, word of mouth and of course Amazon.
But is Amazon the only “ride or die” where your book becomes popular? Is it the ends all that says all who makes you “number one”, therefore making you a “star” in your own world of your suggested “expertise” or published works?
At the end of the day, reviews of the readers will let people know whether your book is worthy of a purchase and I have seen people talk about their book being number one on Amazon but after doing a little digging, I have found this isn’t the case.
In my research, I found this article published in February of 2017, I just laughed out loud at how this man was able to make his book number one and it wasn’t even a real book: https://qz.com/902504/how-to-become-a-best-selling-author-on-amazon-in-five-minutes-with-three-dollars/
The title of the fake book, “Putting my Foot Down” make it to number one in a matter of hours. Not only did he manage to sell three books, but two of those purchases were from himself.
Look, here’s the bottom line, (read that article first), Amazon made it easy for writers to self-published since large publishing companies are not going to pick just any writer, or any book, just because you may think it’s a good book. There’s nothing wrong with thinking your product is great, but you will only know when it’s out there for the world to see. Not only having honest reviews, but real reviews that gives another person the opportunity to make a purchase, whether they will like it or not.
A person can feel the same way by purchasing a palette of the greatest eye shadow ever made, flawless application, little fallout and will find they don’t like it.
What bothers me about the ‘free’ aspect is, if you’re giving away your books for free, via on Amazon so you can make your book get to number one, you’re not being honest.
Lying to the public to make yourself look good, the same reasoning the guy said in his article and I’ll quote it here, “The reason people aspire to call themselves “best-selling author” is because it dramatically increases your credibility and “personal brand.” It can establish you as a thought leader. You’re able to show that you not only wrote a book, but that the market has judged it to be better than other books out there. It’s a status symbol, one that cashes in on the prestige of one of man’s oldest pastimes. At last, I had acquired this coveted title for myself.”
Anyone who’s a writer aspires to be a best seller and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong, when you give out your product for free, just to say, “look how many books I’ve sold, I’m number one now”.
The sad thing is, people will just take information at face value and not do research. I’ve seen people tweet out, “Oh my god, I’m number one, I’m bawling” and everyone is retweeting and responding their congratulations, buying into the lie of the tweet and what the person is selling. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.
Going back to the ideology of cosmetics and why they give free products to their PR list. Because they know influencers will use it for their next video. Writers don’t have an opportunity to be in the next makeup video, but they can utilize real resources to get their book out there.
Here’s the other thing.
Writers do want honest opinions. They want their stories to be read and enjoyed. I can tell you about authors who have shared excerpts of their books for Erotic Experiences and just the excerpts alone had me purchasing the books.
That right there is a resource if you wanted your book read and promoted (shameless promo) but here’s the deal, no one is exchanging money for this to happen, it’s just a matter of helping one another.
In the erotic writing community, I will say the stories I have read are engaging and beautifully written and I can’t wait to be in the ranks of these authors who make a true commitment to entertain the public with their stories.
That’s what writing is all about. No matter what topic you write about, the idea is you’re sharing your works either to help someone or just simply entertain.
Yes, we do want to make money, but at what cost? If you’re writing a book on marketing, would you buy from some random person who has zero experience on marketing, with no education or any type of employment background that has to do with marketing?
Personally, I would not.
Books like that, I would be very selective on making a purchase of that caliber.
I’m not saying, it’s not okay to give out free material, like if you send over a PDF copy to your friends is one thing, but when you give out free just to reach a number one status, your work doesn’t become about helping someone or having someone enjoy your works, it become solely about satisfying the ego and what you can get out of it.
So, when you’re working on your next project, think objectively, on how you plan to market, what will be efficient and effective and what you hope to achieve for the long term goals.