Rather than go on about what I’m really thinking or give you an excerpt of what I’m working on (I’ll save that for the month Bruce says “Post an excerpt”), I thought I’d spend a moment to say why I decided last month to make all of my books free. It’s really no mystery, but some people still wonder. Why, in the name of all that is ePublishable, would I stoop so low?!?
And rather than go on and on repeating myself, I give you the post that set it all in motion. (By the way: for those desiring to make any of your work “Perma-Free” on Amazon, it’s quite a long road for some reason.) Some of the following is a rant, but rest easy: the rant is nothing like I’ve ranted before.
I made a Decision, an Important Decision made more Important by the liberal use of Capital Letters.
It’s called FREEdom.
It took me a while, but I have finally come to a decision about the direction I’d like to take my marketing adventures, at least in terms of the work currently available through electronic means. There was much ballyhoo in my head about this over the past few months, and I have finally come to peace with the demons that haunted me throughout my 2011/2012 Indie-publishing journey.
Like many people who face uphill climbs of note, I oft thought of giving in, of throwing in the towel and calling it a day. I had ranted once or twice of my Failure to Sell, of my Failure to Break Through the plethora of sub-par literature the e-book publishing platforms of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. allow. I had wondered aloud what Secrets the Publishing Successes held…and it wasn’t quality.
During that Time of Lowly Thinking–wherein I agonized about my Place in the World and felt physical stabs of pain every day another book didn’t sell–I failed to really define Success. It’s different for all people, as you know, and for me it never fully fell in my lap as something Concrete. A house on a hill overlooking the Poor People below? My face on the cover of Time? My name spread around like Justin Beiber, but with less degrading humor?
What, really, defined my Success?
I decided sometime around my 40th birthday that I wanted to leave a Mark on people, and hopefully a positive one. Writing literature is, in fact, the vehicle in which I have chosen to perform such a task, or the vehicle that was chosen for me based on my Gifts. Yet in order to really leave a Mark, one must be exposed. How then do you expose yourself to a world if you choose to hide behind a price, if you chose to offer two-day “deals” or infrequent “specials?” And no one hears you?
As I said before, some people are talented at this: they can expose their writing with Cheap Deals, run the Gauntlet of “free” day Promotional Opportunities, Tweet and post like mad about themselves.
I’m not one of those Talented People.
I am quite Comfortable in my world, right now.
And I desire to leave a Mark, however that Mark can be left.
I want people to read my Work, not look at the price and wonder if it’s worth a dollar or two. That said, Success–as defined above–equals Exposure.
There are writers out there in the Internet world who think offering your Work for free is a Bad Idea, an idea that cheapens all literature and makes fools of those people who charge for their work.
These people are prone to complain about Everything, and unless a person defines success in their terms, they will never be Happy. In truth, they will never be Happy, no matter what. They are Degenerates, and I don’t like them.
There are other writers out there in the Internet world who think if a Work is offered for free it must be Crap, must be Insignificant. They are typically people who believe a Value is only a Value if it’s their Value. Guess what? I don’t like them, either.
Am I saying that if you don’t put your Work out for free, you’re one of those Degenerates? Not at all.
You see, if you want to charge $0.99, $2.99 or $19.99 for every Book you put out, then do it. It’s your choice. That’s the point I’m trying to make: it’s YOUR choice. Never do something because some Degenerate mid-list (or even top-tier) author thinks he or she Knows Best.
And yet, it’s not only writers who are Degenerates. Big-name Literary Agents and Publishers are scared to death of going against Group Think, that thing which must change as Time moves down its own River. Donald Maass, who I once admired as a Literary Agent capable of doing great things, said if you self-publish, you’re never going to reach Readers.
I suppose that’s a Challenge then, isn’t it? As I said before, I’m quite comfortable where I’m at right now. I have a damn good job, a House on a Hill where I can take out my copy of Writing the Breakout Novel (by Donald Maass) and burn it in my Fire Pit while smoking a Pipe in the shadow of America’s mountain (that would be Pikes Peak). Am I going to do that?
I don’t know if the book will burn long enough. It may not even be good Kindling.
The fact is, by removing the Barriers of Success I put in front of me, I have more Energy to write more books. I am also able to write them with more Focus. I can do this because I don’t care about the opinions of people who tell me at what price I should set my books or how I should go about marketing things.
This is why–because I can–all three of my Major Works are now free in e-book formats. Not just on Amazon. Not just on Smashwords. Not just on Barnes and Noble. Not just on iTunes. And not just for a two- or three-day stretch of time.
My books are free wherever there are e-books to be sold. If there is a place you find one of my e-books for sale, please send that company a Kind Note to tell them it’s not supposed to be that way.
I will note that the Path to Freedom takes some time as the Distribution Engines in place aren’t the speediest. Amazon is one of the worst to pay attention to the Desires of the Author, but they will eventually come around.
How long will my books be free?
Things change. Sometimes things change in Major Ways. For now, as long as I have Control, my books will remain free.
Am I going to lose the Opportunity to make Loads of Cash?
Whatever. I’m comfortable where I’m at, and I’m still writing the next Novel.
Will the next book be free as well?
I don’t know. Time will tell.
If you feel so inclined, please let the Naysayers know about this. The Naysayers–those Degenerates who have nothing better to do than Complain–are Thorns. A question can be asked: is it possible for Good Literature to be Free, or must the Reader always pay a price? I know the answer, but the Degenerates will say whatever they need to say to prove me wrong.
They don’t matter.
You see, opening your Soul to the World for Free takes guts. That’s something the Degenerates don’t have.
Below are the links. I’ve included links to the Paperbacks of each book should you wish to hold a Tangible Item with my Name on it. (Those books, however, will not be free. Sorry. I really don’t have control over that.)
If a book is not listed as free at one of the retailers, I have given you the option of downloading a compatible file.
NOTE: An asterisk (*) indicates this is a Direct Download from my website. The file is 100% compatible with the device in question, but the retailer has yet to set the correct (FREE) price. Like I said, this can be a long road to FREEdom.
Sketches from the Spanish Mustang
Dead Things on the Side of the Road: A Collection (Volume 1)