Have you ever heard of the ten minute rule? You know the one where you should wait ten minutes before responding to something on the internet?
Well last night that rule went from ten minutes to twenty and guess what? I still could not stop my blood from boiling as I read a pretty scathing article about authors who use the lovely free promo days that Amazon KDP gifts us self-published writers who are struggling to make it in this publishing world.
The article was on the website http://www.buildbookbuzz.com and it was written by a guest blogger, Rhonda Penders, who is the president and editor-in-chief of The Wild Rose Press, INC.
In this article, Ms. Penders explains about the merits of not giving your book away. I am always excited to read anything I can about marketing since it is not my forte but what I read literally insulted me on every level.
I am going to start with why I think she is truly mad.
“It’s a tough time in publishing for authors but the answer isn’t giving it away. To me that’s the same as giving up.”
Is it really a tough time in the publishing world or is it a tough time for mainstream authors and their publishers? I have read countless articles about the explosion of the eBook and how it is wrecking havoc on established authors. We have all seen the rising prices of print books because of the new convenience and lower prices of digital eReaders.
So I asked myself is this article really about how awful the use and rise of free promo days or is there something else in play here?
I think that Indie authors have started to cut a big chunk into Ms. Penders profits, as well as other publishing houses and it really is starting to tick her off. She was persuaded to write this article because of the negative impact free giveaways were having on her authors royalty checks and it says so in the fine print up top. I may be wrong and if I am then I apologize, but let’s look at some of the other quotes from the article.
“When a writer devalues her work to the point of giving her book away, isn’t that what she is really doing? Just giving it away as if it were nothing?”
or my favorite:
“I have to wonder if an author is so desperate to have someone, anyone, read her book, that she’s passing them out like pamphlets on the street corner.”
How. Dare. You.
I am a relatively new author who uses free promos days and I look forward to them. It’s not because I devalue my work nor is it because I am desperate but it’s because I have to use any and all tools at my disposal to get my work out there.
I do not have the luxury of a publisher or an agent. I chose this route because frankly I like to be my own boss and since I am the writer, publisher and agent, I have to do everything in my power to promote my book.
I didn’t get into this for fame and fortune. I started writing because it is my passion and I knew it would take a long time to get any recognition. Being an Indie author is not a get rich quick scheme and if you’re doing it for that then maybe you should rethink this profession.
I fully understand that there are some pretty crappy free books out there but for every hundred there is that one diamond in the rough that gives you goose bumps.
To have someone say that it devalues my work pretty much cuts me like a knife. I work my ass off and I know plenty of other Indie authors that do the same. We are not pounding away on our keyboards so that we can make a fortune.
We do it because we believe in ourselves and we want to share our stories because that is what keeps us going late at night.
I tallied up my numbers the other day and I was overwhelmed when I realized that I had over 20,000 downloads in my first year. Were most of those from free promos? Yes, but in the last few months I have seen my royalties triple after every promotion. All of my books have been on the free best seller lists and am I ashamed of that? No, why should I be? I don’t go around announcing it all the time because as most of my faithful readers know, self-promotion is not my thing. Am I happy that I was able to reach that many people?
I could not believe some of the replies to Ms. Penders article. I shook my head in disbelief at what some of the other authors wrote. They sounded so bitter and I actually felt sorry for a majority of them.
I refuse to apologize for being an Indie author and for using free promo days. I was disappointed in this article and for a moment Ms. Penders made me feel almost like I should hang my head in shame. I then started to feel insulted and devalued, not because of my actions, but by her words.
This is a tough business and I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that we should try to support one another not tear each other down. It’s not easy writing a book and it’s certainly not easy putting it out there for the world to read. I know that there is discrimination against us self-published authors, but to insinuate that because we give our book away that we are somehow giving up on ourselves is irresponsible and degrading.
I wish Ms. Penders had reached out to the community and sought different opinions before she wrote her article. Maybe then she would have understood our struggles and our shared passion for our craft.
I’m not writing this to bash her or any other publisher but when you write something that is so scathing and hurtful, I feel that you should be prepared for an appropriate response.