November 04, 2016

PLEASE STOP valuing yourself & your books so short!

Would you work for months without being paid?
Then don’t expect an Author to!
Last week a comment from a fellow Independent Author Miss Angel M, caught my attention. We recently followed each other on Twitter and when I visited her Website to find out more about her books I read this honest message of her:
“ IMPORTANT NOTE: It may be a few years before I publish another book. I have recently discovered that my posts, tweets, and other promotional networking attempts are not reaching readers, friends or potential fans. Therefore, I will be spending even more time figuring out how to get my books into the hands of readers. For those who have read my books and enjoyed them, please...word of mouth, online reviews, posts, tweets and whatever else you can possibly think of that will help get people talking about and reading my books would be greatly appreciated. Forever grateful to family, friends and fans.”
This made me think: Finally an Indie Author speaks out, what we all go through without sugarcoating anything! Damn it, Angel is right! She couldn’t be more honest. You know I ask myself often would anyone work for FREE these days? Would you work for months without anything in return? Would you be happy to work for FREE just to get Likes? Would you work for FREE just to get Retweets?
If Likes and RT were a currency I would be more than thrilled and grateful. But let’s face it who are we kidding here? The correct answer is clearly No! No one works for Free. And as much as Authors appreciate Likes and Retweets on Twitter and Facebook, they don’t pay our bills! The truth is Independent Authors need actual Readers and honest Reviews. I totally understand Angel. To be honest I was never a huge fan of the social media platforms. But last year when I started to promote my memoir Destination: Freedom I was told by my PR Agency that you MUST be active on the social media, if you want to be successful.
So I joined Twitter but refused to spend more of my precious time on other platforms. Now a year later I have to admit that joining Twitter was maybe useless sales wise, but at least I have found really interesting, talented and loving friends and fellow Authors from all over the world that I wouldn’t discover if it wasn’t for Twitter. So God bless Twitter! :-)
Around two months ago I also started to become active on Facebook. Mostly because of research and also to promote my illustrated Fiction book “America’s Royal Family”. I just thought to myself: Hey let’s give this a try and see what happens! And as I already expected it is not really my cup of tea. Why? Because it is extremely time-consuming! Honestly I have no clue how some writers spend all their time on Facebook and still manage to write and publish books! I joined many Author/Writer groups and even booked FB Ads. But despite over 1300 Facebook Friends (in less than two weeks’ time) and being an active member in over 50 writer groups again I haven’t achieved anything sales wise!!!
It was an eye-opening experience though. Because while I was joining these groups I learned allot. First of all I realized that we all are sitting in the same boat and trying hard to find our readers. But to my surprise many Independent Authors are seriously happy about FREE downloads. They feel a sense of achievement when they offer their hard work for FREE on Amazon and reach the Top on the Amazon Kindle download ranking list. Well good for them. But honestly I don’t see why I should offer my work for FREE and be happy about downloads that not even lead to reviews. So as Angel correctly says we need to figure out how to get our books into the hands of readers that appreciate our work!
My advice to Independent Authors is: PLEASE STOP valuing yourself and your books so short! Please stop offering your books for FREE. If you are doing promotions, than at least do it for a day or as a Holiday-promotion like Christmas. But even then not for FREE! Offer it for at least 0.99! By offering your work entirely FREE you are doing nothing but ruining the Publishing industry! This is a damn hard path that we have all chosen. We all are talented, passionate and trying hard to be recognized. And that’s why I don’t understand your selfish action. Sorry Friends and fellow Authors, what you’re doing is self-deception!
If you are honest with yourself, you know very well, that your work deserves more than a FREE download! You have devoted precious life time, creativity, your heart, soul and mind in a product and now you are willing to sell it for FREE! WHY would you do that? Again why do you sell yourself so short? This is nonsense and not fair to your commitment and not fair to your baby!
I get it that many Independent Authors out there are writing and publishing books only as a hobby. They have their daytime jobs and monthly income. But what about Authors like me, who are trying hard to make a living with writing? You are destroying the market for Fulltime Authors! We all work for months or even years on our books and we all agree that illegally downloading books is a crime. In my opinion so is offering your books for FREE!
Sometimes people just need more time to decide if and when they want to read your books. As an inspirational interview partner, the wonderful Fiction Author Bibiana Krall quoted in her interview: "My spirit animal is the turtle. Dedication and patience wins the race. Reader will discover good titles sooner or later."
So dear Friends and fellow Authors lets support each other instead of destroying the industry! We all know that it takes hundreds/thousands of Readers until an Indie-Author actually makes any profit!
And my honest advice to Angel M is: Please DONT STOP publishing more books! :-) The more you write the better you become. Don’t think about the sales while you’re writing. Say to yourself that your work is not a mass-product and think about Bibiana’s wise quote! I hope this post encourages you to continue your passion and not to give up on your dreams! My best wishes, Lily x



  1. Wow, I'm wordless. Yeah right, I am an author after all. What a wonderful blog. I have not stopped writing, just not writing as often as I would like. Recently I have been seeing other Indie authors declaring "no more freebies". I believe blogs like yours might start a chain reaction. We do under value ourselves and our work. At some point, we have to take a stand. I offered my first 2 books for free on a weekend, got hundreds of downloads and zero reviews. That was my wakeup call. I'm glad my comment sparked this blog post. Thank you a thousand times over. I wish you all the best and I'll be seeing you on Twitter.

    1. My pleasure Angel and best wishes! :-)

  2. Excellent post and I wholeheartedly agree!

  3. Shared, ironically, on Facebook and Twitter... :)

    I totally agree with the sentiment. We are unfortunately fighting a sense of entitlement that started in the music industry and bleed into publishing.

    1. Thank you Ani for sharing! ;-) Lily