Free Is Complicated

Giving away content for free is a complicated issue. If you’re an established author with a decent sized fan base, you should charge for your book, even make limited edition and bonus versions.  If you’re a new writer, you should give your stuff away for free online to get exposure, no strings attached.  Sometimes well known authors give away freebies and new authors charge. BUT you should be wary of free for 3 reasons:

  1. Free devalues your art.  If you’re willing to give it away for free, you make your work seem unimportant.
  2. Free doesn’t necessarily mean people will take it.  You still need to make good content and have at least 1 person out of 10 talking about your work with others.
  3. Free challenges you to keep making more free content, with no guarantee that you’ll one day profit from it.
Here’s 3 reasons why free works:
  1. Free is a great way to get people to taste your work.
  2. Free may give you the exposure you need on review sites.
  3. Free may lead to other stuff like talking events and a legitimate deal with a publisher.
I’ve always believed that the best way to use free is to get something in return, an email, a Facebook fan like, or Twitter follower.  Free enables you to build a tribe, whom then become your promoters when you decide to release a paid item.
The Internet’s massive distribution system, manufacturing ease (there is none!), and social networking tools make free attractive.  But just because it’s easier to ship and promote doesn’t mean it’ll work.  Many of the rules are the same:  you need someone pitching your story, you need people whom believe in you, and you need to continue perfecting your craft.

If you're an WRITER or aspiring blogger, I highly recommend doing these 3 things:

1. Create your own blog and publish something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).
2. Read more. Try Audible free and experience the world's largest library of audiobooks.
3. Buy an All-Access Pass from Masterclass to learn from the best writers in the world.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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