The Power of Free

Since the dawn of time, human beings have felt the need to share — from food to art. Sharing is part of the human condition. A person who does not share is not only selfish, but bitter and alone.
–Paulo Coelho

You have something to say, but the world just won’t listen. What’re you doing wrong? Maybe you’re being too stingy. If you have a message to share and no one’s listening, the best thing you could do is give some of it away for free.

The best way to get someone’s attention is to be generous. Giving your work away for free is something I’ve talked about for years. But it also comes with its share of challenges.

Book publishing has a long and honorable history

Book marketing has a long and honorable history

In today’s exciting episode of the Adventures in Indie Publishing, I talk about the obstacles of “free” and offer practical tips on how to overcome them.

To distill this entire post down to a single takeaway?

[clickandtweet handle=”@MDellertDotCom” hashtag=”#Giveaway” related=”” layout=”” position=”center”]Being generous is a great way to get attention.[/clickandtweet]

But when everything’s free, nobody values what you do.

How free can lead to more sales

Being surprisingly generous is a great way to engage your audience and build trust with a tribe. In fact, I’m modeling this right now by giving digital copies of my book for a limited time. I believe in this stuff.

People often ask me if being too generous will water down what you do or undermine the value of your offering. Honestly, that’s the wrong question. The biggest enemy of getting your work to spread isn’t people ripping you off. It’s people not knowing who you are.

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

For example, take Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, one of the best-selling books of all time. The book wasn’t an instant success. In fact, the publisher told him it wouldn’t amount to much. So how did he end up selling over 65 million copies?

When his publisher dropped him, Coelho decided to forgo traditional marketing and began promoting his book in less conventional ways. Taking efforts into his own hands, he began “knocking on doors”  and within a few years, the book went from selling a few thousand copies a year to millions.

So what made the difference?

According to the author, it was giving his book away for free on the Internet — first by publishing a Russian translation on his own website and allowing people to download it for free, then by sharing it on other file-sharing sites.

And guess what? It worked.

Coelho is a big proponent of radical generosity, especially with books, music, and art. He thinks all works of art ought to be shared, and if you do this enough, the work will spread and people will want to pay for it. I agree.

Tips on being strategically generous

  • Give somebody something short, shareable, and easy to consume in one or two sittings. For writers, I recommend crafting a manifesto.
  • If you want attention, you’re going to have to create a “WOW product.” But creating “wow” isn’t just giving somebody something that’s great. It means going above what’s expected.
  • Don’t give everything away for free or it waters down the offering. Offer something that’s valuable by making it rare.

If this post was helpful to you, please share it (it is free, after all) with others who may benefit from it.

—33—

Advertisements
About

Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.

Posted in Author Platform, Self-Publishing, The Business of Writing, Writing Life

Come join us! Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,902 other followers

Join the Adventures

Sign up here to join the mailing list and become part of my Adventures in Indie Publishing.

Get a window into a working writer's workshop, Join the Adventures.

The Author
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.
The Matter of Manred Saga: Available from Amazon

Available from Amazon

Autographs for Kindle!

Get your e-book signed by Michael Dellert

Twitter Love
Currently Reading
Archives
%d bloggers like this: