Monday, December 2, 2013
Do Not Give Your Work Away! That Is Just Plain Stupid!
I recently read an article describing how too many aspiring authors mistakenly give their work away for free. Each of these authors are convinced that people will take the chance on an unknown author for free when they won't if it will cost them the typical eBook price. We are made to believe the reader will love us so much they will automatically want a hard copy in their hand, and any future work we may produce. The promoters of this paradigm tell us that this process will give us exposure. Now, this word, exposure, is hyped on nearly every social media and book website vying for our work to be given away. This is talked about so much and so often that the question begs to be asked: Does it work? The answer is a resounding NO!
Authors, please stop this practice. It cheapens those of us who are trying to make a living by writing. Writing is hard work. It takes time, and we have so little of it these days. For those of you who are a tad long in the tooth, you might remember hearing from your parents that people who receive things for free don't appreciate the free item. They see it as disposable, cheaply made merchandise that is not worthy of respect. This philosphy is true. Our parents knew what they were talking about. Take their advice. Learn from them.
I would apply that same philosophy to those who review books. A while ago, I sent out a number of books to respected book reviewers at major Catholic newspapers. Mind you, I had previously asked for permission to send it, to see if they might be interested in reviewing it before I paid to ship it to them. I received answers back explaining it would take time, but they would be interested in reading my novel. Off it went in the mail, and at quite an expense. I discovered that my book, and every other book, were tossed into a corner, piled up, and generally mistreated by these seemingly respectable persons. Every book was classified SLUSH, and not worthy of their time, even though these people are paid to read and review books. They only seemed to review books written by the already famed Catholic, or if the writer was a priest, a nun, or a person who had credits from some Catholic organization. Mind you, these writers are reviewed by dozens of people already. This means that these writers are receiving reviews they don't need, wasting the time of the reviewer, and taking the space that is desperately wanted by my fellow authors.
Imagine how it felt to know that the work I had spent ten years researching and writing was treated like so much trash, that they had said they would review it, but really had no intention of ever even reading it. Eventually, I forwarded an eBook to a fellow blogger on LinkedIn and received a decent review, but I had to eat the price. In essence, it was a paid review. Yes, the reviewer is not a famous reviewer, but even they review books already reviewed by dozens of others. And, the insanity continues. It's a crazy system that must be revised, and addressed by all the writers of the world.
When a fellow author asked for a review of his Catholic work, I not only read it, but gave it a review on all my social websites. Even though I couldn't give it more than three stars, I still believed it was worthy of promoting. However, I will not review any more books. I don't believe that I could afford it, nor do I have the time to spend away from my own writing.
I've also noticed that people are always angling to get a free book from me. If I do business with a person they feel they are entitled to a free book. Recently, I had several people doing just that. I was in contact with them for business and they kept schmoozing me for a free book. They didn't directly ask for one, but I could tell by the innuendoes they wanted a free book. No! My days of freebies are over. I've learned my lesson, and I will not repeat it. If you are an author reading this, stop the insanity, now. Stop being stupid. Don't give your hard work away. This does not give you exposure. It only exposes you to ridicule, to cheapen your hard work. I am not alone in this idea. Below are two articles talking about the same thing.
New York Times article: