Pay what you like?

As an indie author, I know that I have a huge task ahead of me. I don’t want to be traditionally published, because I’m reluctant to sign away my rights to a faceless organisation. But in this “golden age” of self-publishing, getting readers to trust your ability is the difficult part.

So this weekend I’m trying a “pay what you like” option on all my priced work at Smashwords. I’m aware that most, if not all, people who take advantage of this offer will fully take advantage of it – and pay nothing. But on the other hand, my hope is that it will get me out to readers who wouldn’t otherwise have given me a chance. And of course it gives my regular readers who are a bit strapped for cash the opportunity to get hold of my work, which I fully encourage.

But why not just make them free?

My thinking is that people see a lot of free books. And there are a lot of veryย bad free books out there. I’d say they were a dime a dozen, except they’re free. It’s one of the reasons I think that “free days” – unless they’re very well promoted – don’t particularly help to increase readership.

But “pay what you like” keeps things professional. These are books that I’ve worked hard on, I’ve edited and taken care over the cover art, and I expect to make money from them. At the same time, it gives people a chance to try me risk free.

Will it work? I don’t know, it’s a calculated risk. I’m hoping to pick up some new fans who wouldn’t otherwise have bothered. I’ll report back if I see any significant difference!


You can get all my work from Smashwords for the special price of “whatever you want to pay” for this weekend only! Check out my Smashwords profile here.

8 thoughts on “Pay what you like?

  1. What to charge for your work is a real problem, especially if you try to have professional standards. The people that I work with (Mr.Skin/Naked News) and the publisher of my one and only e-book of course set their own prices (I get a cut); but since The Gazette is a business (outlays and revenues) I have a bottom line to meet. If I don’t meet that bottom line I go broke. It’s a real problem. I’m interested in how your particular experiment turns out. I’m very interested in the “business” of publishing, too.

    • Interestingly, I was beginning to think that Smashwords was a complete no-starter. I’ve had tons of downloads of my free work, and when I did the “pay what you like” weekend I had sales (at $0, as expected). But none of that converted to a single actual paid sale. Not even for the ones that I was selling for $0.99.

      Then I increased the price of all the paid ones to $3.99 and I immediately started getting sales. Make of that what you will, but it’s certainly interesting.

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