An Attack of the Freebie-Jeebies

As some of you know, I have views on the ”Free / 99p book and Ebook!” promotion thing. My views are that it creates the expectation in readers that something you sweated blood over for years is worth less than a small cappuccino. Happy to retweet your promo if you insist on doing it because you are a friend, but Hell will freeze over before I voluntarily choose to join you. And from what I gather, some of the nastiest reviews on Amazon come from people who acquired your book for nothing. Go figure.[break][break]
Interestingly, in one of those plot lulls that occur at about 13 thousand words, I sat down last week and actually worked out my hourly rate if I were to regard writing as a business, and pay myself a wage from what I bring in via book sales. Let us just say that there is no way I shall be awarding myself a £3 million bonus at the end of this financial year.[break][break]
What I think some of the freebie purchasers fail to realise (if they are not writers themselves) is that the cover price for a book falls far short of what the writer of the book actually receives. I did a useful equation where C (cover price) is divided by T (time taken to write/edit the book) and then subtracted D (discounts applied by Amazon/monies owed to publisher etc). On this basis, I am working for peanuts. If I could afford to buy peanuts.[break][break]
There seems to be this myth abroad that writers write for the sheer love of writing (we do) and that somehow, that should be sufficient reward in itself. Sadly gentle blog reader, it is not so. Food, heating, petrol and life generally impinges upon the creative impulse, bringing with it terrible thoughts of maybe throwing in the literary towel and getting a job in Asda to make ends meet.[break][break]
I don’t ask or expect my plumber/electrician nor the lovely consultant who performed my 2 cancer operations to work for free. Nor should you, dear readers, expect writers to do so either. And I wish writers wouldn’t feed your expectations. I have this dream where every writer on the planet decides they have a moral obligation to their craft NOT to run cheap-as-chips or free promos. Then and only then would our status have a bit more quo. And I’d be able to buy shares in a peanut farm.

Carol Hedges  is the successful UK writer of 14 books for Teenagers/Young Adults and Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal.

Her ebook Jigsaw Pieces, which deals unflinchingly with many of the problems that beset today’s teens, is available on Amazon. She is currently writing a series of adult Victorian Crime Fiction novels, set in 1860s London and featuring the two Scotland Yard detectives Stride & Cully.

The first book, Diamonds & Dust, A Victorian Murder Mystery is available as both book and ebook. The second, Honour & Obey was published in November 2014 and is also available in both formats as is the third novel, Death & Dominion. The fourth book in the series, Murder & Mayhem, published on 22nd September 2016

Twitter: @carolJhedges
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