Tag Archives: sales

Is this Mass Suicide?

mahatma-gandhi

When I first came out with Red Clay and Roses, I told my millionaire cousins about the book. I mentioned that it was only $3.99. My cousin’s wife remarked, “Oh, we have a site where we get all of our digital books for free.”  I suggested they support a starving author. “Why, when there is so much out there to read for free? We haven’t paid for a book in five years.”

Maybe that’s why they are millionaires.

I’m being facetious. But I was offended. My own family would not pay $4.00 to read my book. Hell, I would have given them a free copy if they had expressed any interest.

If you have a series, I can understand the first book in the series being discounted. That’s a great opportunity for you to strut your stuff and build your audience, but I’m wondering if keeping books priced low is working to our collective advantage.

Some individuals have told me that their genre or their style of books only sells at lower prices. I wonder if that is the impatience of the author desiring a quick return.

I was noting the apps in the app store for my phone. You can barely find children’s apps for fewer than five dollars. Some are free, but they are crappy. The good ones are always going to cost you ten dollars, or more, because they know you are going to want the great ones for your kids/grandkids.

I’ve reviewed some terrific indie books on this site, so you know that I know there is a lot of good writing out there. Yet, if I wasn’t an indie supporter because I’ve also self-published would I be one of those who buys books only when they are marked for sale? You know they are going to be…BookBub, Ereader News Today, EBookie, Ereader Books, FreeBookSpot, FreeeBooks, ManyBooks, GetFreeeBooks…I could go on and on, but you get the point.

So very much out there to read, I would never run out of reading material. There are hundreds of places to get free books and if I am just an average reader, why should I spend any money on yours? About the only reason, would be if your free book was the first in a series or trilogy and I want to know what happens next.

We have created this FREE monster by collectively jumping on the bandwagon.

If you were an average reader who did not have a blog and had not been introduced to indies, what would entice you to read a book? It’s popularity? Endorsement by people you respected? A well-known brand/author? Word-of-mouth from people who share your interests and know what you like to read?

I have been on forums where people made comments that they would not pay less than five dollars for a book because they KNOW anything less than that is trash. Hundreds agreed in that thread. Really?

You are really craving ice cream. If I told you that you could have this really cool vanilla ice cream cone for free, or you could pay ten dollars for the chocolate one, which one are you going to take?

I have an author friend who has vowed not to give his books away anymore and won’t be doing anymore sales. His price is set at about $5.00. He wants his books to sell by word of mouth on their own merit. Is that literary suicide in today’s market? Is that suicide for an indie author?

Should we all try that?

What would happen if we did?

The Author Delusion: Your Book is FREE!

Piracy-150x150I am pounding away at my WIP. I would like to put another book out there at some point.

As an independent author, I am reminded of garage bands in the sixties through the eighties, strumming and banging away…hoping to be that next great band.

That was all before internet.

That was before you could download any song out there on your computer.

Musicians went through an angry phase, where they seriously resented the pirating and file sharing of music. There were lawsuits all over the place. Napster, developed by John and Shawn Fanning, released initially in 1999, in particular, became the target of a serious lawsuit.  The downloading of MP3s was credited for ushering in the downfall of the album era. The bottom line is: NO royalties were ever paid the artists.

Along with the accusations that Napster was hurting the sales of the record industry, there were those who felt just the opposite that file trading on Napster actually stimulated, rather than hurt, sales.

I won’t get into the long and sordid legal complications of that suit or the finances of how Napster still made off with a small fortune despite bankruptcy, I only brought it up to speak about book pirating.

Though there are many law suits that have come and gone concerning copyright infringement since that time, most musicians will agree that they now make their money off of tours and venues where they perform live. Movies and games, as well, are pirated on the web daily by many.

And so are books.

Problem is: we can’t have book concerts or fill box office theaters with what we are producing.

Are we producing Art for Art’s Sake?

I am not trying to make a living writing, but I know many career authors who are.

When I first put my book out there, I had it on a free site for two weeks. It got thousands of downloads and I felt special…only to discover twenty, or more, sites selling my book. I asked them all to take it down and they all did, with the exception of one, a torrents site. It took threat of legal action to get it down. At that time, there was contact info on the site, but that has been removed.

Today, I revisited that site, and guess what? My book is right back up there. Also, it has been contributed on the site by several different sources that you can pick from. These torrents sites don’t have any contact info on them…you simply put the title that you want in the search bar, and download the book, voila! That simple. There is no membership required, no fees, and no money changing hands.

Through one site I found five more that offer my book for free.

There is NO way to contact them. They are elusive.

They are put up by a bunch of geeks and nerds who do it for the joy of being able to prove that they can. They are hackers and they are running rampant.

About.com actually has a page teaching people how to use the torrents sites. It posts the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer and legal warning for new torrent users: About.com does not condone illegal sharing of copyrighted material. While P2P file sharing technology is completely legal, many of the files traded through P2P are indeed copyrighted. Uploading these copyrighted files puts you at risk of a civil lawsuit in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. While these lawsuits are often class-action suits, filed against groups of users who blatantly copy and distribute copyrighted materials, some lawsuits are harshly targeted at making examples of individual downloaders. These P2P civil lawsuits are very real, and whether or not they are successful, they are extreme financial and emotional burdens on the defendant.

ISP warning: your ISP may choose to release logs of your downloading/uploading activity to potential copyright plaintiffs. The more megabytes you download, the more you risk being sued by copyright protection groups.

•Piracy IS going on — and it’s much bigger than you.

Music. Movies. Television shows. Newspapers. Magazines. Games. And books. All are pirated, content being aggregated and sold or given away without the content creators and producers receiving a dime. One source says media piracy is costing the US economy $58 billion in losses every year.

Is it to much to expect the big retailers like Amazon, B&N, smashwords, Kobo and others, companies with a lot more money than me, to come crashing down on their heads? Not a lucid dream, huh?

Think you are immune? You are not.

I put in over thirty titles of author friend’s books, traditionally published, self-published. You are all there for me at the push of a key. All in .pdf format, but a slightly computer savvy person could convert to .mobi or .epub in minutes. Apparently, if you are published on Amazon in digital, you are published on this torrents site.

The only books I could not find were those of an author friend who only publishes in paperback or hard copy, no digital.

This is particularly disheartening since I have sold one (1) copy of my paperback to hundreds of my digital…but could it have been more? There must be a huge audience for these torrents sites to go through so much effort…if it is any effort. Seems they have it down to a master science.

Should I care?

I mean, what can we do?…Besides relax and hope we have established a reader audience willing to pay for our work. I have acquaintances and family (many who are wealthy) who boast that they don’t pay for  fiction books. Rather than pay what they would tip the valet or the pizza delivery guy, they choose to, “Beat the system.”

Do you think there will come a time when NOBODY pays for fiction?

Quick Reminder. Post Your Book’s Cover(s).

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Authors, if you haven’t posted your book’s cover(s) into the Read Tuesday catalog, you can do that now, Here.  If you have not signed up to join Read Tuesday, what are you waiting for?  Read Tuesday is a promotional event, like Cyber Monday, or Black Friday, but it is all about books.  All you have to do is sign up, and agree to discount your books for one specific day. Oh yeah…and tell all of your friends and family.  It’s going to be HUGE!