Free Books, and Reconsidering My Stance

If Wishes Were Horses, Part 1 will again go Free on Amazon Kindle, July 8th & 9th, and Part 3, the final episode of the series, will be Free on July 10th.
WishesPromoBanner I have recently reconsidered my stance on “Free” books. Previously I had, in the main, been against the practice. I was in the camp of thought that a writer is worth his hire and deserves to be paid for hard work and talent. That a writer should be paid for her work was firm principle when I attended the OU Professional Writing program. A writer has a right to earn a living the same as everyone else. After all, plumbers are not out there offering free plumbing, are they? I also felt that putting books on “Free” devalued the book and made it hard on writers to earn their living. It seemed to me that the glut of free books would impact books sales and the value of books as a whole.

A few weeks ago, when I bought two new tires at the tire store, I was thrilled with their promotion that let my grandkids play games for free, gave them each a free ball, and let me choose a free gift. I got a tire pressure gauge, snatched it up before the lady next to me; I saw her eyeing it.

I remembered that pressure gauge as I found myself considering a different slant on the “Free” books issue. I am so happy with that free tire pressure gauge. It being free did not devalue it at all. I needed one, and there was one, like a gift from heaven. Tire gauges disappear around my house, so I am hoarding this one. If a person likes something, it being free does not devalue it. It may even make it more enjoyable.

Giving away books is an old advertising method. I have read that Charles Dickens and Benjamin Franklin each printed their own works and gave them away. There are an abundance of free books given away at writer conferences and book fairs, advertising that is investment in both the writer and her career, a hope that a reader will enjoy the book and return to purchase more of the author’s works. I have enjoyed receiving a number of free books through the years and no doubt did begin reading an author’s other work because of it. I have checked out books from the library, which is free, and on occasion have enjoyed a book so much that I would  buy the same book to keep. Sometimes I get an e-book and have to go purchase the printed version to have and to hold.

What about the glut in the market? Yes, there are a lot of free books. If that is all you want to read, you can feel free. However, I think what impacts the writer’s sales is quality. A  free book may get circulated, but the quality of the writing and story-telling is what will keep people coming back. If there is a book I want to read, I will gladly pay for it. The more I want the book, the more I pay. That is the way it works.

There is another consideration for me, too, and that is generosity and the old saying: “What goes around comes around.” One of my primary aims in writing has been to give back to the world all the pleasure and comfort I have been given by authors and their stories. My writing is my gift to the world, and I seek to put myself squarely in the stream of abundance by giving away my books. I give away printed copies to people who come to my house, to grandson’s teacher, to a special person for a special gift. What I give out will come back to me in some way. This is a law of the universe. We can never out-give God!

I hope you take advantage of my offering of If Wishes Were Horses being free for this brief time (and that you enjoy it as much as I do my tire pressure gauge!) If you do enjoy my books, please drop me a line to let me know. Or even drop me a line to tell me what you don’t like, although those criticisms at this late date are generally passed by. But I love hearing from readers, and I very much appreciate you leaving reviews on Amazon and other books stores whenever you can. Leaving reviews is the greatest support you can give your favorite writers.