I am often asked the same question time and time again,
"Donnie, why don't you ever offer your books for free?"
The short answer to that question is because I don't want every idiot in the world reading my work, but the longer answer is much more complicated than you might think.
Many people are scratching their head right now and wondering why an author wouldn't want as many readers as possible to read thier material. And truth be told, yes, I do want as many engaged readers to read my content as I can get. I would love for them to offer an opinion on my material in the form of a written review as well. Engaged readers matter more to me than having 1,000 people download my book for free and not appreciating the work.
There are several reasons that I adopted this marketing strategy, the first being that it gets terribly expensive trying to get your name out in the great big world. However, I will list some of my other issues with the concept of "free readers" now as well.
1) Everyone that downloads your "free" book will not read it. Free readers download the book to their Kindle app or Kindle reader and never read a single page of the content that you spent hours and hours putting together. That's a big waste of time and marketing dollars if no one actually reads the book.
2) The "free reader" never leaves reviews either. Because they are not engaged in the material, or your story, the free reader doesn't leave a review about the book. Most likely because they didn't read the darn thing to start with. Most authors want reviews (yes, even bad ones). A review indicates that people cared enough about the work to spend a small amount of their personal time writing about the reading experience for others. A free reader doesn't care about your book because they never paid for it and probably never read it either.
3) They never turn into buying customers. Over the course of several years, I have given away hundreds of books to people. No, please don't ask me about this, but I do have a "free promotion" out there from time to time. A free reader never ends up buying anything else I have done either. I have never given away a free book and seen any increase in the number of books sold within a two week time frame afterward.
That leads me to the topic at hand; why I want your 99 cents. The short answer is because by paying any amount of money, even something as inconsequential as 99 cents, that makes you an actual customer of mine. You now have some skin in the game. If you like how I write and find it helpful or entertaining, then you might consider spending a couple more dollars on my other content. That would be awesome. But if you don't like what you read, then you aren't out a lot of money. It's kind of like a test run of sorts between me and the reader.
For any new author, I would recommend taking a small piece of your content and turning it into an introductory guide. That's what I did with Good Debt Bad Debt and The Quick Start Credit Repair Guide. It lets the reader take a chance on me for just 99 cents, and it lets the author break down some of their hard work into small, individual works that people can get to know you by. In my opinion, handling things this way makes for a better reader/author relationship. Plus, all the reviews you get will be verified purchases, since they actually had to buy the content.
I give up. I quit. I'm done.
These are all phrases that we have said to ourselves when we reach that magical moment of frustration that causes us to slam our fists down in disgust. I know. I'm right there with you some days.
I can't draw. I have no love for designing graphics, or building websites. Hell, some people might argue that I can't write very well either. But that's why I love people that are good at something I'm just not good at. That singular point, that one thing about each person, is what makes us all awesome at something.
If we were all good at everything, then how boring would the world get? If we could all play "Stairway To Heaven" on the guitar, then guitar music would never be good enough if it was anything less than that. Books would grow tiresome and old. Movies would be boring. Entertainment would fail to exist as we know it.
I love people who do what I can't. They keep me focused on what I do well, and allow me to not worry about the little things in life. If you want your life to improve in a variety of ways, try paying someone to do a task for you that you don't do very well. It might just make you love people that do what you can't as well.
As of today, the website has been transformed into the new look and feel.
While not all of the changes that are planned for this year are in place yet, the general look and feel has been changed to reflect my focus on writing in general and less on the financial side of my life. This was not so much a major decision on my part, but more of just evolution over time.
When I started writing years ago, there was only one small book on mattresses in my plans. At that time, I created a generic website so that people could find out more about me if they were so inclined. As time moved along, I realized that another book was coming along about money and a guide was being produced about debt as well. I reflected the website to look and feel more about finances at that time. Now things have changed yet again.
The reality is that I like writing content of all types and I don't want to be pigeon holed as just a "financial guy". I love money and business, don't get me wrong, but so many things have changed for me over the years that I can't focus all my time on just money related books. There are too many other ideas to explore and too many people that enjoy my writing style that want to read content THEY are interested in. If I want to reach them, then I have to write something that they will read.
As this is written, I am working on 3 different projects at the same time. Believe me, I am far from done writing and publishing content, I just need to spend more time actually writing that content. It takes a lot of time to write books and put ideas together, and I am going as fast as I can with my current limitations. Maybe someday, I will rocket up the charts and can focus on writing full time, but for now I have to spend my time split between many different roles; husband, father, and employee being just a few of them. I am not complaining about any of it mind you, I am just advising of the different things that have to be balanced each week.
As always, thanks for the continued support. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and know it is all because of fans that buy my material!