Why give it away for Free?
If you give something for free then why would someone want to pay for that same item at another time?
In terms of 'free samples', you don't know about a product and you might want to test it before you buy. There are many drinks and confectionary companies who have employed this technique to generate custom and in many cases it works. Yet I have been looking at the concept of 'free books' and how so many authors are now offering their books for free just so that they are read. One author released a free book in hope that her other ten books may appeal to the audience. The thing is once something is free then why would people want to pay for it?
So back to the concept of free. How do you feel about getting something for nothing? I generally feel quite smug. Yet how much do I want to give something for nothing - honestly - I resent it. I don't want to give my valuable time for no return in business so why should I do that with my books? I spend literally hours writing them, I do huge amounts of research - so after all of that - I give it away to someone who probably does not appreciate it... Hmmm. The thing is the more people get used to getting things for free then the more they expect more free things. What's more, free books are de-valuing those that are fully priced. So what can we do about this?
With all the above in mind, I was researching the average author earnings the other day and that was started the issue with 'free'... You see most indie authors are lucky if they earn $500 / £350 per year from book sales - I know - I was shocked. Of all the authors, both indie and professional, only 10% made over $100K or £60K and 2.5% make over $250K £150K per year. The average professional author earns ... and wait for this - it is horrifying $3000 - $5000 dollars (Digital Book World Survey). So this then begs the question if the earnings are so low then why bother? Also why give that hard earned creation away for free? For me I write because it relaxes me, I love writing and I often write about what I want to learn about. So there is a sense of growth through creation for me. I love to craft words and find a great deal of pleasure laughing at my own jokes on screen. I know... A bit strange. Still I love it.
So I go through a period of literary growth and then I share. I write so that I can reach people, share knowledge and hopefully inspire others. I have a career so I am not reliant on writing. Yet there are so many chasing a dream of becoming the next J.K Rowling or Amanda Hocking. The thing is there are so many authors out there now who are not writing at a professional level and the quality is diminishing... Is bad quality justification enough for something to be given away for free? Obviously this is a complex discussion. How do people find out about books unless they have samples? How do they find out about authors unless they can test the work?
Final question: if everyone gives everything away for free then how does a new way of exchange begin? What do you think about Free? What do you give away for free? What do you think about Free books? If you were really talented at something or are talented at something then are you willing to give it away for free?
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