It’s hard on someone just starting in their writing career to get the kind of feedback they need, which is why the idea of giving books away in the hopes of garnering reviews seems to be an acceptable tradeoff. Except that I’ve given away thousands of books and got exactly one review as a result. At least it was a favorable review: I gave away a short story which I clearly labeled as “a very short story” and was given a 1 star review because it wasn’t a full-length novel. He also mentioned something about me writing at about the middle school level. I won’t argue that point, but you’re welcome to click on either of my books on the right hand side and decide for yourself the validity of the statement.
But the point is that I have decided it is not worth my time to give away books in the hopes that it might somehow benefit me. This is not me grumbling, nor am I saying that readers are not holding up their end of the bargain. What I gave away I gave away with perhaps hopes but without implied obligations. It is simply a business decision, as well as the feeling that my work is worthy of the modest price I have attached to it. Because honestly, if I did not feel that my writing was worth more than nothing, why would anyone be expected to read it?
People don’t appreciate what is given for free, which is why we tend to waste what nature has given us while lusting after those things that have been shrink-wrapped and put on display on store shelves. This is not an observation I like to make, but I will not deny the truth of it just because the thought doesn’t appeal to me. Again, this is not a value judgment but a statement of fact. As optimistic and altruistic as I tend to be, a writer cannot afford to stray too far from the facts.
So if you’re reading this as I write it, you may have one last chance to grab my book—Perchance to Dream—on Amazon for free. I think it has a couple of hours left on the giveaway. Do I want you to give it a fair and honest review for the work I’ve done? Of course I do. But I’ve already decided you’ll probably appreciate it less because you haven’t invested any money in it. Hell, chances are you’ll download it and never get around to reading it, in the same way I record things on my DVR I never get around to watching. Which is why I’ll never give my work away for free again. At least for now : )