Monday, September 21, 2009

A Short Whine

I had just about made up my mind to make Books II and III of my trilogy available as DRM-free e-books when I noticed that someone had searched Google for "free ebook download women were warriors book ii"

Granted, this was just one person out of the several hundred who go to my site every month to download a free copy of Book I. But it was discouraging.

And of course the ultimate nightmare of writers and publishers of e-books is that once a book is out there in cyberspace unprotected, people will be e-mailing free copies to all their friends and relations and offering it from their own websites. The irony of course is that an author's work may become wildly popular and the writer receive not one penny for it.

Then, to add injury to insult, someone reviewed Book I on and, while she acknowledged that "This 'book' was inexpensive so I cannot complain about the price for this volume," she then proceeded to complain that "The others are being offered at complete book prices which feels to me like the publisher is trying to milk all the money they can get."

I'm assuming that this reviewer is referring to the Kindle edition of Book I, which costs 99 cents from Amazon and is free from my website. Why she would resent the fact that Books II and III, both of which are full-length books (over 300 pages each in paperback edition), are priced as "complete books" is beyond me.

And to make it worse, the little she said about Book I leads me to believe that she enjoyed it. So if you score a free (or very cheap) book, and you enjoy it, and you think that you will probably enjoy the next two, why do you resent paying the author for her work? Why would you feel ripped off? Books II and III are priced at $9.99 each for the Kindle editions. That makes the cost of all 3 books under $21, which is about $7 each.

Well I guess this whine isn't as short as I anticipated, and I will probably delete it from my blog in a week or two, but once again I'd like to encourage those of you who are avid readers to support the authors whose work you like by reviewing their books on Amazon, on Goodreads, on your blog, or anywhere else where you gather in cyberspace to talk about books.

Dr. Phil often says that it takes a thousand "Atta girl"s to counter one "you suck," or words to that effect.

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Blogger Sharyn said...

Well, I'm happy to give you an "Atta girl." I downloaded WWWW1 from Amazon, either for free or for pennies. It's been so long ago now that I don't really remember. BUT...I read it and was so taken with it that I immediately went back to the Kindle Store to buy books 2 and 3. Happily! Seems to me the reason to give away a first book in a series is to develop readership for the rest of the series. This one is well worth paying for.

September 22, 2009 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Catherine M. Wilson said...

Thanks, Sharyn, for the Atta girl! Much appreciated.

September 23, 2009 at 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Mark Gladding said...

Hi Catherine,

Giving away the first novel in a series is a great idea. Some people will always want everything for free but readers who genuinely enjoy your work will be happy to pay $9.99 to see how the characters and story develop.

I've announced your first novel on my site which will hopefully send some new readers your way.

October 8, 2009 at 3:37 AM  
Blogger said...

I think there's something else going on that you don't have any control over. A lot of people are angry at corporations in general right now because of the economy. When that person reviewing your book at said, "Publisher," they were probably thinking Random House with their big offices in NYC.

There are always going to be people looking for freebies. It's smart to have the first book free in a series. Baen Books has been doing it for years. After that, you have to do what makes sense in terms of cost. Forget about the few people who get their excitement out of running down free things.

January 21, 2010 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Catherine M. Wilson said...

Thanks for your comment, Mary Anne.

I imagine the person who complained about the price of my books didn't understand the economics of the situation. There is a corporate giant involved, and that is Amazon. As I've noted in other blog posts, Amazon takes 65% of the price of a Kindle book, leaving the author less than they receive for a paperback sale.

Fortunately competition has prompted Amazon to increase the author's take to 70%, starting in June. That should bring down the cost of ebooks.

January 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Inksomniax said...

Hi Catherine, I read those complaints as well when I was browsing the reviews and without having even read the first book and knowing how phenomenal it would be, I thought that they were being total jerks and idiots. It's a FREE book! Usually you get a free excerpt of 30 or 50 pages to decide if you want to buy the full version. I find it very generous of you to just give us the complete first book for free and the the time to fall in love with the story. I would have gladly payed double for each of the other books because they are just beautiful. I love the trilogy and I very much hope that you'll publish a new book soon. Most lesbian fiction is so badly written. Yours stands out like an oasis in the desert. Thank you!

April 20, 2017 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Catherine M. Wilson said...

The original post here was written in 2009, and the problem has become worse since then. I am seeing more stories about "entitled" folks who think they have a right to acquire any creative work for free. Here's something from 2016:

Evidently if they don't like my pricing, people feel it's perfectly OK to steal the whole thing.

This morning I came across a blog post about Book I by someone who had read it, enjoyed it, but hadn't read the others because she "couldn't find copies" of the rest. All three books are for sale, so I assume she meant she couldn't find them for free. Someone replied to her that she would add them to a cloud service she presumably stocks with pirated books and probably other things.

I'm sorry to report that this sense of entitlement to everything for free has caused me to stop writing.

It took me ten years to write the trilogy, during which time I didn't have a day job. I went through my savings, including my retirement savings, and most of my inheritance during that ten years of writing, the two years it took to publish the books, and the three years after that when they didn't make much money.

I am now 72 years old. I have no pension. I receive less than $1000/month from Social Security (and now that is under threat). None of this is anyone's business, but I state it here because most writers are not rolling in money, especially writers who write for underserved "niche" audiences, like young gay people.

I have a thriving business doing typesetting and ebook formatting for other indie authors, and so far none of my clients has refused to pay me. Why would I stop doing that--because I can't write and do anything else at the same time--only to have my work stolen by the very underserved audience who complain there are no good books for gay young people.

I would like to point out that I am not the victim of piracy. My books are still selling and making me a modest income. The true victim of piracy is anyone who wanted another book from me.

April 21, 2017 at 1:27 PM  

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