Free ebooks can be a great way of getting the word out to potential readers about your books. This helps by putting your book into “others also bought” lists, putting it on free best seller list and hopefully getting reviews.
But there can be some downsides. These are some of the ones I have experienced:
Freebie collectors: lots of downloads and very few reviews. Why because people basically download free stuff and hoard it with very little intention of reading it – or maybe with the best intentions, but then don’t bother.
Reviews of free books tend to be more critical. Usually I think because the reader got a book that wasn’t really what they were looking for – they misunderstand what the title is about because they haven’t considered their purchase very much. For instance one of my publications – Alt Hist magazine states clearly in the blurb that it contains all sorts of historical fiction, but got criticized recently by a reviewer because it wasn’t just alternate history. I guess they just looked at the title.
“Good for a freebie, but I wouldn’t pay for it”. Well thanks for that review! I have also seen a review of a free book that complains the book was too short! But it’s free, what is your problem! If I was charging it would probably be $0.99 – which I think is a legitimate amount for a short story. If they enjoyed the read would they really not even pay that much for it?
I think these issue can also happen to a certain extent if you price at $0.99. People who collect freebies and bargains don’t often seem to make informed decisions!
But having said that I have definitely had some success with making titles free. Usually for a limited time and then putting the price up again – as this does help with getting into related title lists.
But writer beware, some readers value their free downloads higher than anything they might purchase! 🙂
‘Chivalry’ is the first story of his I have read and liked it a lot. Aside from his choice to play with the definition of chivalry, I also liked the setting, that of the aftermath of battle. I don’t think it is covered enough, which is a shame as the ashes of war give rise to some of the most history and alternate history tales I have read.
For quite a while now the contributor pay rate for a professional Science Fiction and/or Fantasy Magazine has been 5 cents per word. So if you were to write a 5,000 word story you should be making $250. This rate has been pretty much the market standard and fixed as the sign of a professional sale as the SFWA only recognizes a magazine market as professional if it pays this rate or over.
Now it seems economic factors such as inflation have finally caught up with this figure. Asimov’s and Analog are both increasing their rates. SFScope reports that these two publications are actually increasing their rates from 6-8 cents per word to 7-9 cents per word. The other major market is Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine – their website reports that they are offering 6-9 cents per word.
How long I wonder until the SFWA increases the criteria for the qualifying markets it lists? I would imagine they might look at increasing it to at least 6 cents per word? Although it doesn’t sound like a lot, when you calculate the payment for a 5,000 word story then it does add up: $300 instead of $250. These magazines must be taking quite a hit at the moment to their costs. I hope they can cope, as we definitely need these publications to stay vibrant and profitable for the sake of the SFF writing and reading community.
I thought it would be cool to compare Christmas wish lists for books, but not wish-lists for actual books that exist. What are the top 5 books you wish were going to be out for Christmas but aren’t because they don’t exist and haven’t been written yet?
Follow-up to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
A new story featuring Severian the Torturer, courtesy of Gene Wolfe
A new Robert Harris thriller – I’ve read all of them and even sampled one of his non-fiction works!
Lord of the Rings sequel (Sauron fights back) by J. R. R. Tolkien
A decent sequel to Star Wars turned into a decent film as well – i.e. episodes 7 to 9!
Quick Short Story Review: The Homecoming by Mike Resnick
This story is a nominee for the 2012 Hugo awards, and as such I expected it to be a good read. And Mike Resnick doesn’t disappoint.
The Homecoming was a well crafted story about a prodigal son who returns home. This is a twist on the everyday story of kids falling out with their parents. In this case the son hasn’t returned because his parents (well his Dad really) can’t handle the fact that his love of science has lead him to turning himself into an alien in order to study them better.
He’s returned to the family home, where Dad is looking after his mother who is suffering from Dementia. The story is told from the first person point of view of the Dad, and shows how he comes to terms with what his son has become.
A well-told tale. Nothing earth-shattering, but you can see why it’s been nominated.
I have been discussing the aversion of a friend to fantasy fiction and tv/film and it’s interesting to note that their main problem with the genre – citing in particular Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, were the silly names – Mordor, Frodo, Targaryen etc. Why should they care about characters who were so obviously silly and made up to have names that they could hardly pronounce? They are not adverse to a bit of costume drama – having loved the Borgias for instance. Even though Game of Thrones uses names that aren’t that far away from historical ones didn’t make it any better apparently.
I did point out that Game of Thrones was immensely popular – but I have to say it probably isn’t as popular as Harry Potter, a fantasy series that really has crossed over into the mainstream. But what more mainstream name can you have than Harry Potter, Hermione etc. It’s only the bad guys who have silly names in Potter!
So where does that leave fantasy fiction looking for a mainstream audience? Ditch the silly names for your epic fantasy fiction novel – name your main characters Freddie and Ella? That doesn’t sound right somehow either. I think to a certain extent Paul Hoffman in his Left Hand of God series tried it – by using familiar historical and geographical names – and perhaps that worked in a way – or perhaps that just confuses the reader, or appears to turn fantasy fiction into just a post-modern game?
I never new there was a theatre version of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy before, but I just came across an announcement about the Prague German Language Theatre Festival – and apparently there is – though it’s in German. I wonder if anyone would do an English version. Somehow I can’t quite see it coming to the West End of London – they’d have to do a musical version of it for that to happen!
With 12 actors playing 80 roles it does sound like they must have managed to capture quite a lot of the novel.
Although I have read War and Peace a few times, I have never seen any of the film versions. I think compared to some other great big books, I’m thinking Lord of the Rings here, War and Peace may be even harder to convey in dramatic form.