I've been doing some thinking about ebook publishing.
Here is the situation in which I find myself :
1. I've published 9 ebooks, of which 5 have always been free.
2. My most downloaded ebook is the free Lusting While Dusting. It has been downloaded 5245 times since I published it on 8th of November.
3. I've only sold 8 or 9 ebooks altogether. My account balance at Smashwords is $10.18.
So I asked myself : What do you want out of this ebook business? And my answer was : Self-expression and the fun of reaching an audience, building up a fan base maybe and getting to read reviews and ratings of my work, plus, if I could make enough money to buy some of the DVDs, BluRays, books and ebooks I want but can't always afford, that would also be a plus.
Achieving the first few things is facilitated by making my ebooks free, as I've learned from the five which were always free.
The objective of making a bit of money is problematic. At the moment my sales are next to non-existent, and the potential for sales may be limited by the fact that my approach to erotica is unconventional. Write a story about a cheerleader seducing her bondage-obsessed stepfather and sales are almost guaranteed. Write a story about a Guinness Book of Records official fucking the woman with the world's longest pubes and getting knotted to her at the genitals, and, in spite of the novelty value, its a harder sell.
Secondly, even if I do make enough money to justify a PayPal payment from Smashwords, the way things are set up at the moment, if I don't go to enormous trouble to get an exemption, a large slice of the money will go to pay U.S. taxes, and after that I'll have to declare any income and pay Australian taxes on that. I'm no Tea Party supporter. I am happy to pay taxes, but, as a relatively low income earner, I already pay plenty of tax, without having whatever little I might make from my ebooks disappear into government coffers.
So, I've decided to give away all of my ebooks for free.
|It's Food for Thought (Photo from Girls Out West)|
Now achieving a cult following first of all requires visibility. Many an aspiring filmmaker who posts their work on YouTube understands this. There's plenty of time to make money off your reputation once you have one. And luckily the cost of publishing an ebook is slight - 2 or 3 dollars maybe for a copyright free image for the cover and your away.
When I told some of my friends that I was not going to charge for my self-help book How to Be Free, they said that I was undervaluing my writing. In that case my main aim was to offer what I hoped would be useful information to people who might be suffering in ways which I once did. At this point it would not have reached 3821 people if I had charged for it.
At the same time I do recognise that it is only fair for any of us to be recompensed for our efforts. So I've been thinking about the example set by software designers who make their programs available as shareware. Often they say, "You don't have to pay, but, if you like and use our product and would like to show your appreciation, you can do so by..." So, I'm thinking I might set myself up with a wish list on Amazon, I don't have one at the moment, but if I were to have a list which includes items ranging from 99c ebooks to BluRays, then, if someone reads the stories I am offering to them as a gift, and thinks that that gift is a valued one (which will, of course, be dependent entirely on whether they get enjoyment from my writing), they have the option to respond with a gift in return. If nobody choses to do so I won't be disappointed, but the main thing is that I'm not cutting off the possibility of being recompensed for any joy which my writing may inspire.
At the moment, all of my ebooks are free at Smashwords. It may take some time for this change to passed on to the listings at Barnes & Noble, I-Tunes, Sony, etc. :