Piracy and free

I’m watching with great interest both Konrath’s stats and the comments on his post “Steal this book” about his experiment to see if encouraging people to pirate and otherwise obtain his books for free hurts his sales. So far the extra publicity is helping him. So far … so good.

Generally and especially with books, if I can’t afford, I don’t get. I’m not innocent either.

My stuff is as good as given away as it is, now. I’m still of two minds about the whole thing.

One one hand I don’t depend on books for my living.

On the other I would love for writing to be the way I pay the bills.

As Zoe Winters says it’s a ten year journey really. And I’m only beginning year 2.

There is a big backlash against free happening in the literary community. Some people think once you start with free that’s what people continue to expect. On the other hand, if you don’t give anything away, as an independent, it’s harder to get people to take a chance on your stuff.

Could there be a better way? Perhaps.

Really, though, given the multitude of unsolicited manuscripts submitted and rejected, authors don’t deserve a damn thing. It’s the ship they signed on for. And the consumer will be the judge of your worthiness to be paid. It used to be you bought a book by a new author and it was a crap shoot. i personally only buy a book by an author i’ve read either something free online, from the library or a friend. Occasionally via a good review.

Now you have a chance to try an author for free or cheap and buy if you like what you see.Most people will. Some won’t. And some take it just because it’s free and will never look at it.

One of the biggest problems facing any author today is the sheer magnitude of available books. From classics which are free to download or you can still buy many of them in print to the latest Dan Brown, Nora Roberts and Stephen King – authors are clamouring for shelf space and getting in front of readers.

If you aren’t known the only way to go is cheap and if that doesn’t work go free. I’m on the fence with free not because I’m “losing” money, because I don’t think it’s getting my read that much more. Colours of the Rain is now the most downloaded thing I’ve released on Smashwords. 30 more downloads then Second Chance Romance (free or choose what you pay model) and 200 more “full” downloads than Summer Fling (99 cents), Summer Fling has 267 partial downloads. I think you can view 50 percent of the book.

How many people have just downloaded Colours of the Rain because it is free and never will read it. Far more than my other releases. Colours has the advantage of being shorter.

The other problem with free I wrote about a few days ago in that we don’t know how much to pay for a copy of something that isn’t a tangible good. How much are ideas worth?

For me, it is way worth it to give my stuff away and be read rather than let it fester on my hard drive never to see a reader’s eye. No, it’s not professionaly edited and formatted. One of the big six agencies or any professional agent wouldn’t give me a second glance. Does that mean I’m not worthy?

You have to be the judge. No one has asked for their money back yet or written to tell me  I suck. Can’t be too bad. And yes if someone wrote me to demand money back, I’d give it to them. In exchange for a review. ;0

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Filed under Colours of the Rain, culture, e-publish, electronic age, publishing, rants, writing

3 responses to “Piracy and free

  1. Thanks for the link to my article. Just wanted to point out that it isn’t really “against” free, so much as just explaining some of the basic economics behind what happens when price anchors are moved due to proliferation of free content.

    If you want a bit more in-depth view of the whole issue, I recommend checking out my new book, Starving the Artist. Info on that is available at my site, or at http://www.starvingtheartist.com

    Good article, by the way. Very happy to see people thinking about the issue rather than just jumping on one bandwagon of the other.

    Asrai’s note: Mr. Aicher asked me to change to his link to starvingartist.com.

    • asrais

      Saying it’s an arguement or convtroversial is much more exciting. 🙂
      The digital age is something we are trying to figure out as we go. I shall buy your book once my Kobo comes. Next week! (fangirl SQUEE).

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

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