As a new author I struggled with the concept of giving my novel, Six Points of Light, away for free although it seems to be the general consensus that I should. I worked for over a year putting my story on paper. Endless rewrites and edits and not one, not two, but THREE different covers and then finally, it was ready! And I’m supposed to just give it away??
YES. Give it away. The truth of the matter is that no one knows who I am. No one. And as happy as I am to have my friends and family give me their “unbiased” opinions, I want and need a larger audience. So the question of giving my work away for free arose and I had to ask myself, “Am I writing for love or money?”.
The truth is that I am beginning my career as a writer with a passion for YA fiction and I wrote a story that I loved and that I thought people would enjoy. I didn’t think about whether it would be profitable on the first go round, but I do hope to be able to make a living one day. I did not give Six Points of Light away for free in the beginning. I put it up on Amazon for $2.99, started a Facebook page and a Twitter and waited to see what would happen. I sold a few copies and got some good reviews but after the first few weeks, things ground to a halt.
I had to sit down and figure out what my goals were and make a plan to reach those goals. Just writing a book and throwing it into the ether wasn’t working (uh…duh). So I decided to beef up my social media presence. I tweeted more, Re-tweeting and following any author or publisher I could find and then engaging my new network on a regular basis. I also decided that for now, my goal was to put my book in the hands of as many people as possible. I set up a promotion on Amazon and gave my book away for free. I let my Twitter followers know and the support has been amazing.
I have had over 150 downloads in the last 24 hours. That’s 150 people who are willing to take a chance on me. That was my dream as a writer, to share my stories with as many people as possible and build a network of like-minded people. I think I’m off to a pretty good start.
The premise of giving your book away can seem like a hurdle if your goal is to make money right off the bat. I think for most writers, that is just not reality. A slow, steady climb to the ranks of “I write for a living” is what I’m expecting and giving my book away is helping me achieve that goal.