Free ebook fantasy

ebook_penguinDo you download free ebooks?

Do you actually read the free ebooks you download?

Do you write reviews of those same free ebooks?

Do you buy any of that author’s other books?

I suspect there are people who only read free ebooks.

That’s their prerogative.

I’m not writing for them.

I’m writing for people who value what they read and willingly pay a reasonable price for a quality book.

The advent of the ebook has certainly lowered the price of access to information and entertainment in book form. Even print on demand books are relatively inexpensive, when you compare today’s prices with those of a decade ago. I don’t have an issue with that. I think prices were unreasonably high in some parts of the world, and not for the benefit of writers, prior to the arrival of online book retailers.

Readers have always had the option of sampling a book before buying. In a bookstore, you always could, and still can, take a book off the shelf and have a bit of a read before making your buying decision. Online book retailers provide a sample that lets you do the same.

Writing is a business for most writers. Books are the products they have for sale. Once writers sold books to publishers, if they were lucky. Now they can sell them to readers as well, and bypass the publishers altogether if need be, using online retailers.

The challenge for most writers is being discovered by readers, both in bookstores and online, and that’s where the free ebook game got started. Some writers believed that by giving away their product for free they would become known, and readers would come back and pay for their next book.

It doesn’t look like a sustainable business model to me. 100,000 downloads at $0.00 per download still equates to zero income, for both the author and the retailer, with no guarantee the free ebook readers will be back to hand over their cash for any other titles.

In my opinion, the free ebook strategy does little more than undermine the value of books.

I’m happy to provide a sample for readers where books are available for sale, and I’m happy to provide free content to showcase my writing through blogging, and to promote my books through available channels.

I understand that ‘word of mouth’, whether it’s face to face or through social media, is still the most effective marketing strategy for books. That’s right, it’s about readers telling other readers about the book. That’s why online retailers encourage readers to write reviews.

My business plan is to publish quality books people are happy to pay for and tell their friends about.

I’m not doing it for the buzz of seeing 100,000 downloads of a free ebook.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter

Tribes – which one are you in?

Stylized_MasaiWhen we first started roaming the planet we did it in small groups or tribes. In the traditional sense of the word, a tribe is a related group of people with some sort of kinship or other social bond. Tribes were about belonging, and in many senses they still are. Think football fans, for example. They even get dressed up in their team’s colors to hang out at games together.

Recently, for obvious reasons, I’ve been studying marketing and self-promotion, something authors have to do for themselves these days, and I’ve come across the word tribe used in a different context.

According to the marketing gurus, you need to identity your tribe so that you can tailor your marketing message to the right group of people.

This is an interesting use of the word. No kinship in this context but maybe there is a sense of social bonding. What you are looking for is the group of people who are interested in whatever it is you are marketing or promoting.

I guess the message is that only a small cross-section of the population is going to be interested in whatever you are promoting, so don’t waste your efforts with the ones that aren’t.

So, who is my tribe?

Maybe I should have specialised. I’m writing in three genres or categories:

  • Mystery and detective
  • Non-fiction
  • Body, mind and spirit

Maybe that simply means I have three tribes to connect with.

The Inspector West series, with it’s focus on relationships within the framework of a crime story, will appeal to a particular type of reader. We’re talking about the tribe that likes murder mysteries and intrigue, and seeing how other people deal with those things, and how the detective works toward solving the crime. Maybe the same readers who enjoy books by Louise Penny or Peter James. Definitely not the readers who can’t wait for the next Jack Reacher book.

The Living Alone series has a fairly easily defined tribe: those guys who find themselves somewhat adrift at the end of a long term relationship – but the books in that series, especially Cooking4One, could also appeal to someone leaving home and going it alone for the first time. Or maybe their mothers.

As a reader of this blog, there is a fair chance you belong to the body, mind and spirit tribe that is looking for inspiration or encouragement to continue the journey of personal growth and discovery. Sharing the Journey is coming for you.

There is one other tribe, according to the gurus, that will love anything and everything I write, and will happily and enthusiastically share it with their friends. That sounds like the tribe every author would love to be surrounded by.

Do you belong to any of these tribes?

Which one?

Do you know someone who would benefit by being a member of any or all of these tribes?

Why not share this with them?

Thanks for dropping by, Peter