What I Learnt Over The Weekend

You can waste a lot of time chasing a dream. That a small outlay can equal sales if you give your book away for free, but… yes, well you knew there would be a BUT… That’s to say when you’re not earning any money from your writing apart from a tiny amount which wouldn’t buy you a takeaway meal, a pint at the local pub, or a cheap bottle of wine to have with the takeaway meal if you could afford it. Anyway, I digress.

Right, I decided that giving away free books without a new book ready for the readers to read, isn’t a sound investment. A free book should be like a teaser. A kind of Here read this for free and if you liked it this one is available next… Of course, I don’t have a second novel ready yet. Over the two free giveaways weekends I’ve done so far I have let go of over two thousands books.

Some could say, yes but you’ll be paid by the number of pages turned. Under normal circumstances I would be excited at the thought all these readers choosing to download my novel, but what makes me nervous is the fact reader, being one myself, will download books when they are offered for free to read later. All readers have a to read pile, whether that be physical pile be side your bed or on your kindle. I know I have several books sitting on my kindle unread, which I did pay for, and they have been sitting there for a few years now.

Just like the books besides my bed, I have to be in the mood to read a certain type of book at a certain time. Time isn’t on my side here. My contract with my publisher is for two years. After two years, I don’t see a return on my investment. The reader will still have a copy of my book to enjoy. They may leave a review on Goodreads as my novel will no longer exist on Amazon. All those pages turned will disappear and not be paid out. 😢 Buying an ebook at a price upfront means the writer gets paid. Can you imagine working for a whole year in any other job and being told, Well, we’re not sure when the customer will pay us, so we can pay you, but… it might be next week or it could be in five years time 🤷‍♀️ Would you take a job like that if offered?

Yes, writing can bring great rewards, but… yes I know the B word again. We have to be realistic here. Understand the bare roots of writer’s world. There’s three kinds of writers. The super successful writers who have struggled to the top. Mid-listers who steadily sell novels and are the bread and butter writers of publishers & agents alike. Then there are the rest of us who can only hope and dream of becoming a writer in one of the other two groups.

We all have a dream idea of what selling our first novel will be like. I’ve been lucky enough to have followed the writing careers of my dear friends. This has given me an insight to the publishing world. All our realities are not the same, but a writer’s first real success doesn’t come with the sale of their first novel. In reality you’re just dipping your toe in the water.

This weekend free giveaway has cost me over £100. I won’t see that back for quite away. £40 pounds of that money was lost to a bogus site. The rest was invested in two good sites which I will definitely use again in the future. Only this time I will expect the readers to pay something up front.

I guess what I’m really saying is I value my ability to write well therefore if a reader is willing to invest their money into buy my work that show me they value it equally too, and are more likely to read it and review it, than a reader who picked it up as a freebie along with ten other books.

The free giveaway weekend gave me a taster of seeing my novel sitting at an number one spot. As lovely as that may be it is all too transient as you watch your book tumble down again and sit for days with no sales. Think about it. No one will want to buy your novel today when yesterday you were giving it away for free.

Yesterday being the final free giveaway day of Stone Angels. I was pleased to find my novel sitting in these positions. My crime novel didn’t do well in the U.K. This didn’t surprise me. A) because none of the promotional sites I used were based in Britain. B) I couldn’t locate any promotional sites within my budget based in the U.K.

This morning at 4:16 U.K. time on USA Amazon site Stone Angels was listed in: Bestseller rank free 📚 #190.

  • # No 1: Gothic Romance (odd no romance in this novel)
  • #No 1: Ghost Suspense (the main character is haunted by his mother so at a pinch we could accept this)
  • # No 1: British Horror Fiction ( happy with that)
  • # No 3: Dark Fantasy Horror ( Yes, my novel would sit well with these readers)
  • # No 3: Occult Horror ( I’m not sure how readers of this category will feel once they start reading Stone Angels.)
  • # No 2: Contemporary British Fiction ( Yes, happy again)
  • # No 7: Horror ( Yep, I’m happy with this, but I’m not sure purists of horror will be)

It will be interesting to see what reviews , if any, I received for the readers of these categories. I hope you find this post interesting and I look forward to reading your comments.

7 thoughts on “What I Learnt Over The Weekend

Add yours

  1. How refreshing to see an honest review of the torturous road to marketing for an author. THANK YOU PAULA. It does seem that the whole publish-market process is stacked against commercial survival for the author BUT…please keep going. Your writing is good. It deserves a wide audience. Your generosity in sharing your experience is inspirational.

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  2. I’m really sorry to hear about your difficulties Paula. Unfortunately marketing anything is a skill in itself, and a very difficult one. It requires considerable resources in terms of time and money, hence why small presses can’t do it. I haven’t read the novel yet, but the premise for Stone Angels is great, and it deserves to do well. This is probably a silly question, but have you tried going down the traditional publishing route of submitting to literary agents with a view to securing a deal with one of the mainstream publishers?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic, this gave me very insight knowledge on listing my own book for free-book giveaway. You are very brave Paula to disclose the real pain of a working class writer like me- I really appreciate your honest writing, and have learnt a lot from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue, I’m sure many other writers like me will benefit from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It makes total sense when you say a giveaway without a new book ready for readers to read isn’t a sound investment. I read this blog post twice, gave it some thought, and I have to agree!

    I also didn’t know that books disappeared from Amazon. I guess that makes sense. If the publishing contract is for 2 years, when those two years are up, it’s not like the publisher keeps back copies forever, even e-copies would take up space on hard drives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The publisher takes them down unless they renew the contract with you. The book becomes mine again and I would then be able the either self-publish or find a new publisher.

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  5. Hi Paula. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I really appreciate your candor and honesty. No matter what, and I know it’s only a little thing, I’ve loved the books of yours I’ve purchased,and will continue to purchase more in the future. For sure!!

    Like

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