Tag Archives: Romance

Free Books or Not?

As the eBook has increased in popularity, it has been matched by a proliferation of Internet sites that offer you FREE books. To get these FREE books, you must subscribe to the site. This usually costs nothing to you but your e-mail address. 

How do these sites work? How are they able to get you the books for FREE? Are all the books offered FREE?


Many of these books are FREE to you, the reader. Other books are discounted. You’ll find books listed anywhere from FREE to $3.99.

Rarely, you’ll find a book listed at a higher price. It is usually one that is traditionally published. We, the authors, pay dearly to place the books on the listings. That is how the site makes its money and is able to get you the FREE book. 

Let’s say that I want to  draw readers to my Daniel’s Fork series. I choose the first title in the series, and I run a FREE promo on Amazon for 1 day.


I book the promo day on a popular service such as Ereader News Today. The Ad can cost from $30 to $135 on Ereader for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.

A promo on BookBub, the most sought-after and successful promo site for eBooks, can run as high as $1800 dollars  for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.

A cozy mystery being downloaded for FREE will cost the author $458 at BookBub for one day’s promo. There are many sites that cost a lot less but are not as effective.

On the FREE day, the promo site places my book on its newsletter and sends an email to all its members showing that my book is FREE on that day. It will post the book on its website also. Of course, my book is one of dozens featured  that day.
As a subscribed member, you are notified about the Free and Discounted books being featured. Using such services, you may download hundreds of free books a year.
The beauty of these sites is that they send you an email featuring many books on promo and the links to them. All you do is click and download. Below is a partial screenshot of an email I received from BookBub  this week.

This email featured twenty four books on promo. Most were priced at $0.99 to $1.99, but THREE were FREE!

Why would authors pay to give away their books? Simply because hope springs eternal.


Every author hopes that if you read that first book, you’ll fall madly in love with the characters and the author’s writing. You will then buy all his or her other books.

This strategy, one which a few years ago produced many self-published best sellers, worked extremely well for a while. I myself discovered favorite authors Monique Martin and C.L. Bevill when I read their “first in a series” for free a few years ago.

Presently, the proliferation of the Free book has produced a generation of readers who want to read only for free. They scope the sites daily, downloading every free book they find. They rarely buy.

Some download books they have no intention of ever reading, the virtual hoarders of the eBook age. An interesting post on Good E Reader reports that Kobo has found that 60% of its sold eBooks are never opened.

The more expensive a book is, the more likely it is to opened. If the book is FREE, it sits at the growing pile of unopened, hoarded books. 

The problem goes even deeper. Some readers ask for free review copies they will never review. Some ask for Free gift codes from an author meaning to spend the code in another author’s title.

Last year, I hosted a Giveaway of Strongheart’s Woman printed edition, giving away four copies at Goodreads. Within days, two of the copies were offered for sale as new at a fraction of the book’s selling price. This forced Amazon to lower the price of my book across the board to match it!

     


Logic tells you that writers can not work for free anymore than Macdonald’s workers or teachers or nurses can. As a result, many seasoned indie authors are no longer offering free novels. I believe that number will keep growing.

There will probably remain a small group who continues the practice, especially new authors just entering the writing market. Those still have not learned the lesson that if you want your work valued, you must place a value on it first.

I will no longer give away free novels. I have a short story,  Vampire, Not Monster which I give away to anyone willing to sign up to my VIP list. I have it listed as Free for a time at various seller links in order to attract readers to Angel’s Guardian, my latest full novel.


I also offer samples of three chapters from my full novels at Instafreebie. I do promos on the sites mentioned, usually at a price of $0.99 or $1.99 but no longer for FREE.  


Now, you might ask, where are these sites that feature FREE and discounted books?

Here are the links to some you might like, but remember: sponsor the authors you like by buying their work. You would never work for free. Why should they? 


http://bookgoodies.com/mega-submit/

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-readers

https://choosybookworm.com/free-ebooks/

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Erotica, Anyone?


Sometimes, the lessons learned are not the ones the teacher intended.
I have been deeply concerned from the start, with the quality of my writing. The time I spend editing, running spelling checks, checking grammar, getting beta readers to find plot holes, errors in tense, and so on, is probably four times the amount spent writing.
I want to sell my books, of course, but I also want to be respected and admired as an author. I love it when a reviewer calls my prose “exquisite,” as some have done. I get a thrill when readers say that my characters are complex and developed. I get heart palpitations when someone tells me that they wish our world was like Daniel’s Fork. Still, not every reviewer and reader hones in on the things that I consider the “elements” of a good book.
I have a habit that has turned out to be a double-edged blade: my insistence that everything I do, I do to the best of my ability. I firmly hold to my opinion that while I write “fiction,” and that entails a certain degree of creativity when it comes to story telling, my characters should be as true to their nature as I can make them.
My main example is William Evers. I structured him as a non-conformist, a rebel at heart. My crafting of his personality in Daniel’s Fork was done with the objective that he should not be liked by the reader too soon. The reader will like Setiyah best, then Jonas and Eric. Later, in the sequel novella, Will begins to grow in the reader’s affections. A clearer picture of the protagonist develops. He has, after all, a whole series during which he’ll develop and become the man he is meant to be.
Will Evers is amoral, insensitive, arrogant, and ambitious- not good traits for a hero! He is also sexually uninhibited and dominant. The original title of the book was A Whore and a Rogue, and it pertained entirely to him! So, if my lead male is a whore and a rogue, he must be a strongly sexual character, and his sexuality must reflect his amorality!
As a result of William’s character, I knew I had to have erotic scenes in the novel, but I did not want to write a book that was erotica. I opted to include two chapters in the novel that have erotic content. Two chapters out of thirty five is not too much; the novel is a mystery after all. A romance would have much more sexual content.
True to my ethic, the erotic content would have to be explicit and done well. After all, a stallion like Will Evers would have to be true to character, as in great in bed. Each erotic scene took the entire chapter. The scenes came out, in my opinion, well indeed! However, in the overall scheme of things, the prose, the characters, the setting, the humor, the tone, and atmosphere are the things I spent most of my time crafting, and the ones that make me most proud.
Reviewers and readers, however, don’t have the same mindset. I found, to my surprise, that the things most reviewers zoomed into first, were the sex scenes! 
A few reviewers commented that the scenes were “gratuitous” and unnecessary. One reviewer called them “as close to pornography” as you could get. Some called them “the best erotic scenes”  they’ve ever read.
A couple of reviewers went as far as saying that they only gave the book four stars because of the explicit sexual content.  Others gave it five stars because of the sexual content. But whatever each one said, one thing was obvious: the scenes made an impact, and any author would be a fool not to use “impact” to his or her own purpose.
It occurred to me that this was something I could turn to my advantage. I could possibly use the erotic content to draw attention to the series. I aimed to do something daring: something I never would have considered two years ago. I decided to use the explicit erotic chapters, not only the ones in Daniel’s Fork, but also ones from the other books, and release them as a separate erotica collection.