I know this is going to sound crazy coming from me. I’ve always been a firm believer that a writer deserves to be paid for her work. We work hard, write, edit and promote. We deserve compensation for that.
Even so, I’m about to tell you that you should consider giving your writing away for free on your author website.
And just to prove that I’m not being a hypocrite about this, I have two short story collections that I give away for free. I also publish nearly all of my Station 86 books online. Here’s why.
I put lists of paid books in the front of each one.
In other words, free advertising. I give a book away to someone who’s never heard of me and now they’ve heard of me. If they like my short work, they’ll seek out my longer pieces. You know, the ones that cost money.
Free catches the eye of new readers.
It’s a lot easier to get a new reader to try something free than something they’ve got to pay money for. I mean, if you buy a book and hate it, you still paid money for it. If you got a book given to you and you hate it, well eh. You’ve lost nothing but time.
Giving an example of your work isn’t a terrible idea.
Think of it as a free sample at the grocery store.
It can lead to a lifelong fan.
This is the best part. A reader who picks up a free book and keeps reading will likely pick up all of your books over time.
Now, since I’m sure you agree that giving some of your stories away for free is a good idea, here are some ways to do it. All of these I’ve done.
Guest posts without charging.
Write short stories to post on your website.
Collect those short stories and create an e-book.
Write a serialized book and post it episode by episode.
The idea is to make the sample of your writing easy to get to, all over the place and appealing.
If nothing else, the people who read your stories for free read and enjoyed them. That’s a pretty good thing all on its own.
And, as an example, here’s a link to Spook, my latest free book. If nothing else, I hope you enjoy it.