Should Writers Give Away Their Works for Free?
Last year, Wil Wheaton (Yes, Westley Crusher himself) wrote about NOT giving away his work for free.
I agree with him. We’re artists and we shouldn’t give away our work. Amazon and Kindle Unlimited have revolutionized the publishing industry. Thousands of books are offered as free. Is this good? For the reader, yes. For the writers? Not so much.
I’m guilty of using Kindle Unlimited as a tool to introduce some of my novels. “The Plot Thickens” was in the KU program for six months, sold more than six hundred copies, but made pennies. All of the books enrolled in the KU program share a monthly allowance (KDP Select Global Fund), based on the number of pages read. If you have a small book, you have to sell a heck of a bunch of them to make as much as a novel.
Free, or almost free, is the new norm. If you’re a writer with a healthy stable of books it might be worth it to offer one, say the first story in a series, as permafree to introduce a reader to your work. If you’re a new author—don’t quit your day job.
Should writers give away their works for free?
It’s up to each author, but my advice is no. Don’t shortchange your work. Don’t shortchange your worth. Go wide with your stories. Offer them through as many online venues as you can find. I recommend starting with Draft2Digital.com, where you can upload your manuscript once, and it is downloaded behind the scenes to Nook, iBooks, Scribd and others. It’s a free service upfront, Draft2Digital takes a cut on the backend (much as Amazon does).
Amazon is a huge presence in the ebook publishing industry. Why allow them power over your writing career? They could push all of their authors into the Kindle Unlimited program.
Take charge of your career. Don’t let anyone else define you. You are worth more than you give yourself credit. Don’t give away your work!