Hugh Howey Explains the Need for Authors to Give Away Their Books

By Posted in - Booktrade on April 14th, 2014 0 Comments
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3-June-2013-Indie-Bestsellers-signing-on-30th-Howey-Freethy-510x317
On last week’s IndieChat event, hosted every Tuesday night on Twitter by publishing solutions company BiblioCrunch, the guest speaker was from a new tool, InstaFreebie. This platform allows authors to easily create a free version of their books–with or without DRM and reader watermarking, as they choose–in order to share them with readers. I happened to mention that I used the platform in March and between InstaFreebie and KDP Select gave away over 200 copies of my books in March alone.

The response was immediate: “Aren’t you worried about those lost sales?”

At this year’s London Book Fair, taking place now, self-publishing success story Hugh Howey spoke on a panel with the UK head of Kobo Writing Life, one of the top three major self-publishing platforms. Howey, who has openly stated in the past that his story is not typical for indie authors, explained the purpose and the benefits to giving away free books as a reader engagement tool.

Many publishing industry professionals caution against giving away free content, as they feel it reduces the value in the eyes of the reader. Likewise, surveys have shown that low price points for books make readers respond negatively, as if thinking to themselves, “How good can it be? Even the author didn’t think it was worth a whole dollar.”

But Howey’s point is that only truly undervalued books are the ones that no one reads because they can’t find them. In this time of difficulty for book discovery, offering your content–especially backlist content–to readers is a way to entice them into getting to know the rest of your list.

Howey went on to expand on his fear that the current climate of self-publishing will continue to perpetuate the model that traditional publishing has always experienced, namely that there will be a limited number of bestselling and successful authors at the top, followed by the remaining “unknowns.” He explained that the self-publishing market should be a place where every author can find his audience, and enjoy some measure of success, regardless of how that success manifests itself.

Many publishing industry professionals caution against giving away free content, as they feel it reduces the value in the eyes of the reader. Likewise, surveys have shown that low price points for books make readers respond negatively, as if thinking to themselves, “How good can it be? Even the author didn’t think it was worth a whole dollar.”

But Howey’s point is that the only truly undervalued books are the ones that no one reads because they can’t find them. In this time of difficulty for book discovery, offering your content–especially backlist content–to readers is a way to entice them into getting to know the rest of your list.

 

goodereader.com

March 21, 2014 by Thad McIlroy

You have to feel it was all a waste of time, this notion that somehow writing and publishing were being “reinvented” by new ideas and approaches and the startup companies behind them. Or even that being an independent publisher of any sort is worth the back-breaking effort.

American Booksellers Association

Have a look at the nominees for the 2014 Indies Choice awards. As far as I can see every single title is from one of the big five publishers (or one of their “independent” imprints). I only checked the adult books; maybe there’s an independent among the kid’s titles. According to Wikipedia ”throughout the year, Book Sense independent booksellers from across the country nominate for inclusion in the monthly Book Sense Picks the books that they most enjoyed hand-selling to their customers.”

I know that lots of self-published books are available online only. I also know that there are thousands of independent publishers of all shapes and sizes that issue books in print. I guess it’s just no fun selling those books.

For decades there’s been a clear order to the publishing universe, from author to agent to brand-name publisher to publicity machine to booksellers to reviews to awards. If that doesn’t change, well, will anything change?

- See more at: http://thefutureofpublishing.com/2014/03/independent-bookstores-vote-for-big-5-publishers-authors/#sthash.8f2knk7i.dpuf

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