The Free Effect.
I’ve seen it in my own books and heard about it from other indie authors. Sales have really suffered this last year. But what is to blame? Lack of marketing, lack of fresh material, poor story? You can say what you will, but I think the root of the problem lies elsewhere.
Marketing is important. If people don’t know you’re out there, they can’t buy your books. Fresh material is always important. People who like your work will want to read more. The more you give them, the more interested in you they become. One hit wonders are rarely successful.
Poor story… that’s debatable. It could be argued that the 50 shades books are poorly written stories but they sell like hotcakes. I’ve heard the same of other books. People think the writing is not up to par but the stories sell well. Now, I am not saying write crap, but I don’t think the quality of the story is where the sales issue comes from.
My honest opinion. It’s Kindle Select and all the freebies out there.
The flood of free books out on the market is an enticing thing to readers. Who doesn’t want to read a free story? Good or bad, it doesn’t cost anything. There is no risk.
People download them and fill up their ereaders. Do they actually read them? That’s debatable. I have to wonder. The same people who are downloading the free stories are still paying for the books they love from the authors they love. I would venture a guess to say that they download what is available and get to it when they feel like it, but they already have a long list of stories they paid for to get through before they hit those freebies.
So, for the indie author who puts their title up on Select as a freebie gets that huge spike in downloads while it is free, but their book might not actually be read for months to years from the date of download.
Multiply that by the thousands of indie authors out there offering their titles for free and you can easily see why sales are in the decline. There are too many freebies out there and the authors who are using freebies as a tool to spark sales but are not seeing those sales happen. They are essentially giving their work away for free.
Again, this is all speculation.
For me, I have seen sales shrivel over the last year even though I have more titles out now than I ever had before. I’m at the point of wondering how I will make ends meet. For me, free has been a double-edged sword. I’m still positive things will turn around, and I am still working on getting new stories out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Leave a comment and let me know if you are an author feeling the pinch, or a reader who wants to weigh in on how you see “Free” stories.