Should You Give Books Away For Free?

I deleted my account on “GoodReads” today. Yes, the sneer quotes are intentional.

I already feel better.

The place had been bothering me for quite a while. Since the first day, really.

Tech glitches. Way too many drive-by reviews (people just leaving a star or two, not taking the time to elaborate on why the drive-by slam), way too many people writing critically about others’ writing while making writing errors themselves. I snapped on that shit this morning and that was that. Buh-bye!

Even if GR really represents a deep vein of my “readers” (or my potential readers) — and I doubt that it does — then so be it, I am leaving them. I’ll go down in flames. I haven’t far to go anyway! But really, I can’t deal with hypocrisy. If find it just that abhorrent. I do.

Some of the bad over there is my own damned fault. I admit that. It started way back when I gave my books away using Amazon’s “free” runs (with Kindle Select, which is now in a tailspin, I hear, as a program, and may even be on its way out). A lot of people (users of GR, e.g.) would grab books for free and then do these drive-by “reviews.” Ugh.

Bottom line: I learn as I go, and I’m a bit thick sometimes. The big painful lesson here for me is this: I won’t give books away for free ever again unless it’s a one-time thing to one person, a blog reader, a subscriber, a fan. Unless it’s from my heart. Corny as that sounds. Because I put myself into the crap er I mean writing that I do.

This is NOT about cash or fame.

It’s about the devaluing of work. Someone who grabs a copy for free simply doesn’t value it. There’s no stake in anything. No commitment of any kind. That’s just my opinion. I think getting a book for free like that predisposes one’s attitude, even if it all remains subliminal. You’ll not convince me that this undercurrent isn’t there on some level: “Yay, scored another free read, probably a piece of shit or she would be selling it somewhere, but I got nothing better to do and fuck it, it’s FREE.”

When I get something for free in life, I know I always devalue it instantly. I assume it’s cheap crap. Don’t you? Has someone given you a Rolls Royce? Or have they given you a garishly designed coupon for fifty cents off with fine print that says it expires in a week and you also have to buy $25 worth of something else to claim the fifty-cent discount? Heh. Well, you see my point, I hope.

Anyway, goodbye GoodReads. Oh, and have a look at this awesome flowchart, “Should I Work For Free?” It’s really pretty much applicable to any work someone produces (Jessica Hische, the artist who did it, is a hugely successful professional letterer and graphic designer with an amazing portfolio and client list; she knows whereof she speaks).

Oh That Savill, She Is Making So Many Bad Career Moves!

This morning I decided to tell Draft2Digital to STOP pushing ALL THREE of my bestsellers to Kobo. Thus, even if Kobo changes their policy and wants to reinstate self-published books, and some (or all) of the self-published erotica books they have removed, I won’t be part of it. By my choice.

Because it’s the principle of the thing, ya know? I’m not selling there anyway, as you can see (below). So this is extra funny with “oh who cares, motherfucker?” sauce.

But I swear to you, even if I was selling tons of books there, I SWEAR TO YOU that I would have done the same thing this morning. You’d have to know me to know how serious I am about that. NO fucking kidding there. This is how I was brought up. My Mama instilled a strong sense of “tilt at windmills, Sheri” in me.

Meanwhile, take a look at this screen cap of my D2D dashboard this morning, for my bestseller, Marked for Submission:

Click for big. Porno-grade big. Heh.

E-COMMERCE: I’m still testing various e-commerce “solutions” for selling e-books on my own sites. And yours, if you ever need a smut-friendly web developer to set it all up for you (for a fee, of course). I have a testimonial from Trent Evans, too. He can vouch for me. I’m honest and discreet and this ain’t about the money, but I am good at what I do and I am uber-conscientious, so I deserve to be paid and will be charging for said web services. Stay tuned, or contact me early if you are seriously interested.

There is also a chance I will start my own e-publishing venture and be a distributor of erotica myself. You just never know. I had the know-how and zee Skillz.