The current conventional wisdom is that the ONLY way for authors to find readers is to give books away. At least give one away and then all the readers who took advantage of the free offer will love your book so much they’ll come back and buy your other books.
Maybe they will. After they read the other hundred or so free books they have in their TBR pile.
Get noticed! Get on the bestseller lists by giving your books away. Only you’re not a best “seller.” You are a best “giver.”
In an economy where the price of everything has risen in recent years, books are not only cheap, they are free. Why? Does a book have less value than a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? Do you go to the supermarket and look to see what they are giving away today? Or the gas station or the mall? When’s the last time the movie theater didn’t require you to pay for your ticket or your popcorn?
No one is giving anything away except authors. Maybe it’s a result of the glut of books on the market. But even if you’re giving your books away you are just one of the thousands of authors who are doing the same thing. You’re going to stand out how? By writing such a brilliant book that the free readers will flock to buy your others?
I’ve read a couple of outstanding books in the past year. Some of those were by fellow Samhain authors Sophie H. Morgan and Donna June Cooper. One was a free book which was the start of a series by Jeffrey Archer. (I’ve resisted buying the second book—even though I’d very much like to read it—as the digital version is priced at $9.99! Yikes!) Cooper’s and Morgan’s books are in the $5 and under range. I either purchased their books or they were given to me by the authors in exchange for honest reviews.
While I don’t believe an ebook should be priced the same as a print version since there’s no cost for printing and paper and shipping, I don’t believe in free either. The same amount of work went into the book (writing, editing, cover, formatting).
You might get one of my books for free if you won a contest or entered a Goodreads giveaway. Maybe you’ll read it. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll love it and check out my other books. Maybe you’ll buy them. Maybe you won’t.
All I know is I’ve worked since I was sixteen. None of my employers ever suggested I shouldn’t get paid. I wonder why so many authors began suggesting it to themselves. I mean I love a good sale as much as anyone but I also wonder how many readers who take advantage of free books would be willing to work for nothing.
What I thought she wrote was that it’s not enough to write a good book. But what she actually wrote is, “It’s not enough to have a book.” Her post is about having a platform from which to sell your book, i.e., market your book to readers.
Kristen didn’t say it, but I feel like I’ve heard it said elsewhere: It’s not enough to write a good book.
I’ve believed this for a long time. I write good books that don’t sell, so I often ask myself what’s the point? What I just woke up thinking was that’s the question I wanted to ask Kristen Lamb. But since that’s not what she said, I guess I will ask myself.
Before I do, let me just say I suck at marketing in case you’ve never read my blog and didn’t already know that. I’ll repeat it: I SUCK AT MARKETING MY BOOKS. I can say I don’t enjoy it, but the truth is I HATE IT. In that context, it really, truly doesn’t matter if I’d published ten or fifteen years before I actually did, and it won’t matter how many books I publish now that I at least have a publishing platform. Very, very few people will ever know or care that I’m an author who not only believes in writing quality books but makes every attempt to do just that. I will die just as anonymously as I came into the world.
Five years after my last book is published (if not before) the rights can and probably will revert to my estate and that will be the last anyone will ever hear of Barbara Meyers, Author.
So I wrote a bunch of good romance novels before then. (I’m not dead yet, let’s remember.) So what? Because I didn’t market them, they didn’t sell and hardly anyone knew about them or had heard of me. Then why am I doing this?
Here’s the easy and most truthful answer I can give: Because that’s what I want to do.
If you’re an artist, you create art. It’s what you do. Great. Now I sound like a Geico commercial. Why can’t we create art for art’s sake? Why can’t it just be something beautiful we put out into the universe for others to enjoy? Does it have to be noteworthy? Does it have to sell for megabucks or in mega numbers or be considered worthless? Is that the only value we have of perceived quality now? If it doesn’t sell for a lot, or doesn’t sell at all, then it’s less than useless?
Thanks to Samhain Publishing, I have a wonderful editor who makes my books even better and a company who gets them into the sales venues. Samhain’s philosophy is “It’s All About The Story.” I’ve even connected with a group of Samhain authors to do cross promotion. Sadly, the rest is up to me. Not only do I drop the marketing ball when it’s thrown my way, I try to avoid being anywhere near it.
OMG I can hear those more knowledgeable voices who’ve preached to me for years: “It’s a business, Barbara. You have to treat it like one.” Ugh.
As an author must I reach some bestseller list before what I offer readers has value to them? Side note: There are countless numbers of authors who have made the USA Today bestsellers’ lists whom I can guarantee you’ve never heard of. Don’t believe me? Start Twitter-stalking authors. You’ll start to believe that every author besides yours truly has been on that list. (Hangs head in defeat.)
Likewise, I would imagine, there are countless authors who have marketed their butts off whom you’ve never heard of or read either and probably never will. Are their books as good as mine? Probably. But again, I ask you, what is the point? How many more readers do they have because of marketing? How much did they invest in their marketing campaign? Did they figure it out? Did they find the magic key to fame and fortune? While I’m not making any money from writing, even if I did I wouldn’t be investing every dime in advertising. Because then, I’d what? Be breaking even. Well, I’m already breaking even. I don’t get paid to write books, but it doesn’t cost me anything except my time and brain power and creativity to write them. And if that’s how I choose to spend my time, then so be it. I’m not hurting anyone except myself and maybe I’m giving a handful of readers a respite from a stressful day or a chuckle or a sigh here and there.
So shoot me. Because for me it is enough to write a good book.
Chapter One of FANTASY MAN (Samhain Publishing 02/16) is not exactly PG-13, while my blog is. Below I’ve posted the beginning of Chapter Two. Once you’ve read it, leave a comment briefly explaining what you think happens in Chapter One either here on the blog or on the post on my Facebook Author Page . I will choose at least one winner from the comments for a digital or print version of FANTASY MAN.
FANTASY MAN Chapter Two
The fantasy evaporated and reality set in with a glacial chill . At that moment she knew she’d done something that would have consequences far beyond her own selfish motives and momentary pleasure.
Her actual memories of Reif Callaghan were blurry at best. Tony and Reif had been roommates at FSU for four years, but to Quinn, five years their junior, Reif had been unattainable. She had certainly been beneath his notice. Still her ridiculous crush had only grown more intense on the rare occasions their paths had crossed. The last time was five years ago in Tallahassee when he and Tony had graduated.
She wasn’t quite prepared for such intense scrutiny from those eyes of his. Not with his naked and slightly sweaty body still atop hers. Not with her camisole pushed up to her armpits.
What had she done?
She struggled beneath him, wanting to get away, to push the memory of whathappened between them out of her mind.
Liar, her subconscious replied. You don’t want to forget this. Not now. Not ever.
Maybe not, but she’d at least thought the first time she had sex this fantastic it would be with somebody who knew who she was. Someone who wanted her.
He repositioned himself as she wiggled out from under him, yanking her camisole down as she went.
“Hey, wait a minute, how’d you—” Reif put his hand on her waist.
She shot up. “Get your hands off me.” She wondered how effective her tone was considering that, like the rest of her, her voice was a little shaky. So many emotions were zipping through her at the moment, she wasn’t sure which one to feel first. Fantasy had collided with reality in a way she still couldn’t process. Not with him there, naked, looking for answers she didn’t have.
Reif sat up, the sheet pooling below his waist.
Quinn found her jeans on the floor and yanked them on. The hell with her panties. She certainly wasn’t going to waste time looking for them now.
“I just—would you—did I—”
She didn’t wait around to hear whatever else he had to say and she certainly wasn’t going to be there when he got out of bed, leaving the sheet behind. She hightailed it down the stairs, not completely sure where she was headed, but knowing she had to get herself under control before she could face him again.
She skidded to a halt in the kitchen. What was she going to do now? Oh God oh God oh God.She’d done something stupid. Unforgiveable. Something she wouldn’t be able to take back. Ever. And she had nowhere to run.
She forced herself to breathe, to calm down and think. She needed to do something normal. Coffee. She’d make coffee. Surely a routine task like that would put everything back in perspective, or at least put things into some kind of context she could work with.
She knew from her search for sustenance last night that Reif’s cupboards were nearly bare. But he did have coffee and a coffeemaker. She set the brew cycle and contemplated the dark liquid as it dripped into the carafe.
She’d been annoyed when Reif hadn’t collected her from the airport yesterday. She’d waited near the baggage claim for over forty-five minutes, giving him and the famous LA traffic the benefit of the doubt. She had no way to contact him. Her brother Tony didn’t want anyone to have a way of tracking her, like a cellphone. He’d assured her he’d contact Reif and Reif would be there because Reif would never let Tony down.
Only Reif hadn’t shown, so Quinn took a taxi to his house. When she’d ascertained that no one was there, she’d kinda-sorta broken in and made herself at home. By then she was starving and exhausted, but there was nothing to eat unless she wanted to make a meal out of grape jelly and ketchup.
Pissed and alone, she’d started in on Reif’s six-pack of Corona Light. She’d drank them all, letting the alcohol calm her while she explored the house.
Reif lived like a monk. The furnishings were Spartan and there was only one bed, a king-sized one in what was obviously his bedroom. It would serve him right if he found his bed already occupied when he finally showed up. He could sleep on the couch.
Quinn had doffed most of her clothes and snuggled under the covers. The booze, lack of food and all around rotten day made her desperate for some kind of pleasurable relief. In her mind she’d let Fantasy Man have his way with her in a most satisfying and delightful manner until she fell fast asleep.
Her night of blissful slumber hadn’t ended with any of her problems solved, however. Ithad only created more .
There will be lots of posts about FANTASY MAN in the future, so follow along on the blog, my Facebook Author Page or on Twitter (@barbmeyers) for chances to win more stuff!