The Free Labor Economy Pt. 2

There are a myriad of myths and outright lies in the writing world all designed to get you to work for free. Most of you, myself included, will fall into at least one of those traps. We discussed some of them in the first part of this article. Now let us take on the one which gets abused the most. Building Your Platform.

More myths surround this one nefarious process than any other in writing. One of the biggest reasons to avoid at all costs is that you will be surrounded by sheep lead to slaughter all telling you it is okay. No. Offering your work up for “free download” to increase readership is not okay. Neither is pricing your ebook at 99 cents.

When you offer your book for free download during some time window all you do is help Amazon sell Kindles. The vast majority won’t even look at what they download. There is a culture I call “Free Hoarders” living in the Amazon universe and Amazon actively cultivates this livestock when pushing Kindles on them. “Just look at all of the ever changing free stuff you get when you buy one of these devices! Isn’t it great!” Is the basic marketing message.

That free stuff is your product. You will never sell it to the Free Hoarder crowd because they aren’t interested in buying anything. If someone had seen your marketing campaign and was interested in reading your book, you have now just ensured they will never buy it. Adding insult to injury, most of those people who do actually get around to reading it won’t post a review unless they feel like emptying their colon.

99 cent books are a real bad idea as well. You have to really know what you are doing and most people reading this have no clue about it. Someone told them to offer their work for 99 cents to compete on price. What you really did is tell they buying public “I didn’t try very hard.” Think about it. When you go into Dollar General or one of the other dollar type stores do you expect to get family heirloom quality or something which will hopefully work the one time you need it? Same logic applies to a 99 cent novel.

Some of you might be quick to point out that I have one title on Kobo which can be had for $1. This is true. I do believe it is the only site I have that ebook for sale. I did it for a specific set of reasons.

  1. It is not a novel.
  2. It is a thin book covering the one topic most students hate but everyone who wishes to be a software developer must master.
  3. The instructor in Brazil who wanted to use it to teach his students had already bought more than one paper copy, paying obscene shipping charges.

I knew when I wrote that book it wasn’t going to be a major seller. Most American schools do not even teach logic anymore. If they have such a class they teach programming in Pascal in it instead of logic. This is one of the main reasons we have a ton of software out there today and most of it is unmaintainable bug riddled sh*t. Basically I could post it as a $1 ebook and get “some” money from it or they would just cut the spine on one of the copies he purchased and photocopy it for all of the students. (Yes, we exchanged a few emails and he also obtained the instructor’s guide.

As humans we have 2 undeniable vices: Eating and living indoors. While I have said that many times, I am always stunned to see just how many people get duped into working for free on something which isn’t a personal mission in their life. If you have a personal mission to help flood victims or provide medical services in third world locations, fine, go for it, more power to you, but never ever get duped into posting endlessly on social media sites and giving your work away for free on Amazon thinking it will pay off “someday.” It won’t.

We will skip discussion You-tube’s ad revenue sharing program(s) as we are talking about writers and the writing life here. Yes some writers have channels or whatever on there, but you have moved into the video world at least partially with that model.

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