Saturday, 6 October 2012

Working for Free?

Talking of giving work away for free (as I have been incessantly for the last two days) ... is that a good idea? In the case of Escape to the Country it's too early for me to say, but I'll keep you informed once I get the facts.

It worked out quite well for Womagwriter, and some authors who now have good sales figures originally gave their work away. What about you? Has giving work away ever done your writing 'career' any good, are you hopeful it will, or is it something you'd never do under any circumstances?

If you are happy to offer work for no immediate monetary reward then you might like to consider submitting to The Short Humour Site or Cafelit.

Here's a free picture prompt! Do you know what it is?

Click here to read an interview with me and hear about another freebie.

For another take on writing for free, take a look at Elizabeth's blog.

43 comments:

  1. I'm pretty certain that by offering your book for free for a couple of days you've raised your profile.

    And somewhere those numbers are being stored and collated.

    Anyone sensible enough to 'buy' Escape to the Country for free now has a bargain. They will be keen to buy (for money!) your subsequent work so it's important to keep your marketing machine running.

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    1. Helen, I'm sure it has raised my profile at least a bit. You're right that I can't just leave it at that.

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  2. I keep thinking about giving work away but I've not done it yet. I can see it woud proabbly increase my profile and maybe get me a few more followers but I'm just not sure... It's not abut the money but I think it might feel unkind to other readers who already paid for it! Maybe I might consider it with my next book...

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    1. Pat, I did think it seemed a bit mean to those who'd paid, but this promotion was done by the publisher and I had no say* (well, other than signing the contract which gave him the right to do it of course!) I just hope the readers who paid think the book was worth the money and will forgive me.

      * does that sound like I'm unhappy he did it? I'm not.

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  3. I'm not in charge of the pricing of my book, and I don't think my publisher go down that route. It seems odd to me to give books away, because even though my book is an ebook, I still think in terms of print books - and you don't ever go into Waterstones to have them handing out the latest releases free, so my luddite head still can't grasp it. I'll probably join the 21st century in a few years time :-)

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    1. No, it wouldn't happen with the print copies, Annalisa (other than a few review copies maybe) It seems odd to me to give away something I'm hoping to sell, but I'm trusting my publisher and hoping for the best.

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    2. It will be interesting to see how this affects your book long-term. There must be a reason your publisher (and others) do it.

      Hopefully those that have bought the book for free will write reviews - they're possibly the real legacy of this kind of promotion.

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    3. I'll let you all know what happens.

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  4. I'm not sure how I feel about giving books away but, as I haven't actually written any yet (well, none that have been published anyway) the question hasn't arisen.

    I hope it works for you, though, Patsy. I'm sure your publisher knows what she is doing. Good luck.

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  5. By the way, it's a dead pigeon - isn't it?

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    1. Ok - I've blown it up so I can see it properly and I can see it's not dead. OH says it's a Great Bustard.

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  6. Immature upside-down peacock?

    I think giving books away is a good idea. We write to be read (at least, I do), and if people like the freebie, they may go on to buy other work by that author.

    BTW was That Book ever offered free?

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    1. Yes - well lying down, not upside down.

      I agree about the writing to be read.

      By 'that book' do you mean the 'Oh my!' trilogy? Yes, I think it was free on fanfic sites. The author seems to be excellent at gaining publicity.

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  7. I have heard conflicting opinions about the value of giving away books on Kindle, but personally I think it's a good idea. It gets you noticed :-)

    Is there a tortoise in that picture too or am I seeing things? x

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    1. I didn't notice a tortoise when I took it, Teresa.

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  8. My publisher has never given away any books. Hope the numbers are good for you.

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    1. The promotion numbers were excellent, Alex - just to see how it effects sales, if at all.

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  9. Sadly, I have no books to give away, but not sure if I would approve. I have knitted scarves in the past, and tried to sell them. I sold a few, but when sales dried up, I gave them away to friends or charity. Writing is a craft, and some people are not prepared to pay for that talent, yet are happy to receive freebies.

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    1. Maggie, it is quite strange to give away stuff in order to encourage people to buy. One good thing with ebooks is that it doesn't reduce the number available to sell and just because a person has one of my books it doesn't automatically mean they won't want another so it's not quite the same as your scarves. I do see your point though.

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    2. That would be good - selling e-scarves that only needed to be knitted once! I know, writing isn't quite the same.

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  10. It may help to encourage sales for other books you've written.

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  11. When you work in a glamor industry like film, TV or writing, you have to be very dedicated, start at the bottom, and take your lumps. Pubbing for free is a gamble, but one that may pay off in the long run. If any authors are writing to make big money, they'd better choose an easier career path. Good luck!
    Is the mystery bird a female peacock?

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    1. Glamour? You've not seen me sitting in my dressing gown at the computer!

      I'm not sure which sex, but it is a peacock - a young one.

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  12. I don't have a book to give away, but I guess, every time I post fiction to my blog I'm giving my work away free.

    I think it's good for raising your profile and encouraging people to buy your other books. If/when I'm in your position Patsy, I won't hesitate :)

    Xx

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    1. That's true, Vikki - blogging is giving away writing for free.

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  13. I think it's a good idea for a limited time as it helps to raise our profile. I also don't mind writing the occasional free story or article for a good cause - again, it's that idea of getting our name known!

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    1. Getting our name is important, Rosemary. No one can read our books, for free or otherwise, unless they know about them.

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  14. I give away my Kindle titles regularly -- but keep in mind, they're reprints of short stories I've already had published and been paid for, so any extra sales at this point are gravy. Oddly enough, though, after a free promotion, said titles always see more sales.

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    1. It's odd how that happens, Milo, but it does seem to be the case.

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  15. Is it a very ruffled Pheasant?

    I can see the advantages of offering a book for free for a day or two, the book may get to readers who've not read your work before, and will hopefully go on to buy other books by the author.

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  16. No, although it does look like one. It's a young Peacock (or Peahen, I'm not sure of the sex)

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  17. Anything that raises your profile could be worth doing (er, within reason!) In addition to time-limited free ebook promotion, it's always possible to offer free shorts on our websites.

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    1. Rob, I've had a couple of suggestions for publicity events involving nudity. Currently I have no plans to implement any of them. I will be offering free short stories soon though. That's the better option for this time of year, I think.

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  18. I have given away reprint rights of a few stories and articles to small magazines/ websites, but years after they were first published in more established and paying magazines. As writing is now my only source of income I need to sell it! If - no, let's be positive - when I get a novel published, I'd be happy to give away some copies, perhaps as competition prizes, to generate some publicity.

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    1. P.S. At first glance I thought the photo was of a headless duck or pigeon ... but with my glasses on I'd guess it was a peahen or immature peacock ??

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    2. Yeah, a baby peafowl of unspecified gender.

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  19. Hi Patsy, I've written articles where we get a copy of the magazine, which would normally be six pounds, and also words with Jam don't pay and I've had articles in there, nor cafe lit as you mention. It's o.k for a while to give your words away, but for me, my new slogan for two o one three will be 'dont' write for free. Maybe it helps promote, but I'm getting a bit more picky now.

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    1. Promotion is good, but so is getting paid! I think you're right to target paying markets now, Suzy. Best of luck.

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  20. I gave my book away for free on Smashwords a while ago and I think, like you say, it takes time to see any results. I also don't have the next novel out yet but hopefully it did raise my profile and when (no if's here, trying to be positive!) that gets published, some of those people may buy the new one.

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    1. They do say that it takes 20 years for most writers to become an overnight success!

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Thanks so much for commenting!