Why on Earth would a publisher give their books away for free?
Why would someone give their stuff away for free and still expect people to buy it? It’s not like music just comes of the radio, television programs are available on the TV or websites give away stories and articles for nothing, is it?
We live in a time described by Ray Bradbury in ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Aldus Huxley in ‘Brave New World’ and George Orwell in ‘1984’. For a new independent author, finding their audience is almost impossible. It seems that the only chance for a small publisher is to try something radically different and we decided we had nothing left to lose by doing so.
There is a concept called, ‘Better Than Free’ which is very commonly used. The idea is that people can get a free basic version of something but, if the quality is sufficient, they’ll prefer a paid-option and enjoy the benefits of it.
This business model explains why people listen to music but still buy albums, have access to streaming sites but still buy box-sets and why people prefer to drive around in cars with financially crippling finance agreements instead of taking the bus.
There is nothing new in the idea of giving away a basic version and then asking for a reasonable sum of money to upgrade it. The idea hasn’t caught on in many mass-media markets because the quality simply doesn’t support it. Nobody is going to buy a box-set of ‘Batwoman’ so there’s no incentive to let people sample the show on a free service.
But, this concept, in terms of art, has always been popular, and there’s nothing new about it. Artists, musicians and writers have always had patreons, people who sponsor their output, freeing them to create more of what people want.
We’ve decided not to reinvent the wheel, but to apply a very simple model to out independent publisher, a model that has survived the test of time and seems more relevant in the digital age.
We offer a completely free basic option. All of our novels and books have a page where you can read our work on an embedded reader, all the time you’re on our site. You don’t need to sign up, you don’t need to submit any information and you don’t need to join our site. Anyone can simply come and read our work whenever they feel like it.
Our system simply presents our stuff but, because we have had to switch off download options, there is no menu so navigation is more awkward. The version we offer is the basic version, it doesn’t have introductions or any production notes. It is the story, no less, but also no more.
If you want the complete work, we invite you to go to our sales-partner sites and buy a copy. Edge, for instance, includes production notes and four exclusive short stories, explaining where some of the ideas originally came from.
We also have the option to sell you ‘print-on-demand’ paperback copies, for those of you looking for a more relaxed, classical reading experience.
If you wish to support us, we have a ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ button where people in the enviable position of being able to spare a few dollars can send us a small donation. We’re also working on subscription services where our readers can join us and get exclusive content, including news, upcoming samples, chapters and other things that casual readers won’t access on our site.
Will all this work?
We hope this will be the future of publishing. We want to be the first to give free novels to our audience. That way, we have someone to write our stories for and they can see that we have faith in our work.
Help support us in helping to build the future of independent publishing.