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Best Seller Or Best Give Away For Freer?

This post sort of goes along with my previous post about whether or not one is really an “award winning author” or not.  Seems to me that a lot of authors, particularly self-published ones, want to make themselves seem more prominent than they really are.  In a way, I understand that.  It is hard being an author.  I know, being one myself.  We would all like recognition.  But, like I said in my post about “award winning authors” who get some token award and then tout it as some grand credential, “the only person you are cheating is yourself,” when that recognition is overhyped.

I notice a lot of indie authors are out there giving away their books.  Nothing wrong with that.  If you want to give away your hard work for free then that is your perogrative.  But what does bother me is when I see indie authors promoting their books as free simply to try and move themselves up the best seller lists on sites like Amazon.com.  Particularly when they are not shy about it.  They tweet things like, “HEY! My book is FREE! Download a copy to help me move up the best seller list!”  They aren’t even coy about it.

On one level, I get this.  The higher you are up the list, the more likely someone will notice you.  When someone notices you and sees that you are on one of these lists, they instinctively become interested.  “Hmm,” they say, “if its on the best seller list then it must be good.”  And then you rush out, the second your book hits the top 100 list and proclaim yourself a “best selling author”.

But, think about this for a moment.  If one is giving away one’s work to climb a best seller list, are they really a best seller?  When you look at the top “sellers” for Kindle downloads on Amazon, many of the books on the list are $0.00 (i.e. free).  Ok, so you might claim that you are “selling” your book for nothing, but you’re really just giving it away.  You’re not “selling” anything.  You are giving something.

In my opinion, if you have to give your book away to be a “best seller”, you are really nothing more than a best give away for freer.  Lots of people will download things that are free and never look at them again.  If they never look at it again did you accomplish something?

I firmly believe that good work speaks for itself.  Good work should never be given away for free.  And things given away for free should not be consider sold.

It’s great that you made the 100 for Kindle downloads by giving your book away for free.  But wouldn’t it be much more satisfying to make the top 100 by writing something people would actually pay for and enjoy?

  1. September 1, 2012 at 11:35 am | #1

    A very good article! It’s tempting to want your stuff read, but mature writer has the patience to wait, refine and love what they do. If your book doesn’t sell, write another, or write shorter stuff to get your name out there. Think strategy, and find your special writer”s time. What I like about your writing process, Mathias, is that you have a portfolio you are constantly building. A sign of a writer who loves to write, and is always will to did your next edge.

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