Why I won’t write for free (and why you shouldn’t either!)

25 Oct

So in trying to understand more about “book marketing” I’ve been reading a gazillion posts about how you market and sell books. I’ve read so many words about keywords I literally want to tear my own eyeballs out of my head and shove them in the nearest plug socket to sizzle.

Literally, I’ve had it.

If I have to read one more post that tells me to have a “promotional strategy” before I publish (too late for that then!) or else give my book away for free (also gleefully known in the trade as “giveaways”), I think I may well just shove my wanting-to-write-snappy-little-fingers up my own arse.

Seriously, this advice is a joke. And I’m pissed.

giveaway free books

Why O Why is it that I am expected to write for free? I don’t see most other people working for free? Aside from voluntary workers who are great people and perhaps don’t need the bucks and want to fill their time, the rest of us need some spondoolies to pay the bills.

Haha! I hear you laugh – pay the bills and be a writer? Jog on.

And seriously that is what my internet search has taught me: If I want to “sell” books I must give them away for FREE.

Now, I may not be the world’s best mathematician, but free ain’t equalling any money.

And so I had a rant with the OH this morning about this. To be honest, he wasn’t even faintly interested as he got ready to go to his PAID job, but he did deliver advice that only a man who doesn’t want to live for much longer could.

“Why the fuck are you spending so much time learning how to try and sell books rather than just writing them?”

His reply, to be fair, caught me off guard. I don’t think I was ready for such sage advice delivered in such a cavalier and, one may say, inhumanely simple way.

However, I am a woman. Need I say more? Of course, that wasn’t the end of the story because I had more to say.

“But…but… you don’t understand, it’s all about keywords and stuff and I have to choose appropriate keywords otherwise no one will ever be able to find my book…” Even I could hear the pathetic whine piercing my voice and dragging me to shameful levels of teenage-angst behaviour.

“You know shit about keywords and even less about SEO. Even at my company where we spend tons of money and time on SEO it doesn’t really get us such great results, so what are you going to REALISTICALLY do, knowing nothing about this going to achieve?”

I did the shock, horror, can’t-believe-you-just-said-that-you-moron face, but deep down I knew he was right.

Off he went to work and back I went to the billion tabs I had open to try and figure out “book marketing for dummies.”

And then my laptop started hissing and whirring. I don’t know if it was the overload of so many “book marketing strategies that work” or the FREE downloads on offer or what. But quite simply and after a little spatter of indignation it turned itself off.

I stared at the black screen.

Then I looked at my scribblings – inane notes jotted down in illegible handwriting that at some point in the future I thought would be useful and add to my arsenal of winning ways.

And then I realised. Bollocks to it. Yes, bollocks to it.

The OH is right. Who gives a shit if I don’t know how to sell a book, I didn’t get into this game to sell books, I got into this because I wanted to write books. And so now I am back on writing. It’s highly likely you’ll never be able to find any of my writing from the barrage of books that are out there. But sod it, I’m writing now, and I’m writing for me.

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