I’ve decided to place a Pay What You Want button for both the novel, Leaving London, and the book of short stories, All of Us with OurPointless Worries and Inconsequential Dramas, (that’s a title and a half), on this site.
Why have I decided to do this? Well there are a few reasons. Author Julian Gallo wrote a great piece a few weeks ago called Piracy and the Web Dept on his website, Desvario, and he allowed me to chip in my two cents on this subject. I’m not hugely concerned about these websites that rip off your book and give them away for nothing, because basically I think a lot of them are phishing websites, and whenever I’ve reported them and had them taken down, another one simply pops up in its place.
Something should definitely be done about these phishing websites, although Google have contacted me and said that the ones I’ve been reporting lately have nothing to do with them, and that I should just contact the website owner – yeah - like that’s going to do any good. So, I’ve kind of given up on that.
I do think there is a more positive side towards giving your books away for next to nothing to readers who cannot afford to buy, plus the main point as well is to increase your readership. I also think that PWYW is a way to stop Amazon and other online publishing sites from taking a chunk of your money, although of course they do provide the publishing service. When it comes to the paperback version, there’s nothing much I can do about that side of things. If I sell a paperback copy of Leaving London for £10 then my profit from this is very minimal – under £2 at most. Also I left my printing press in my last house when I moved.
So far I’ve had readers buy the PDF versions for $3.00 each, which is less than advertised on Amazon (but who says my price on Amazon is the right price?), but no one has yet taken the $0.01 option, the minimum amount that the books can be purchased for. I still do have to pay a Paypal fee on each sale.
There is the option, (although I’ve still not worked out how to do this on this site), of giving copies away for free and then having people donate (or not) after reading - the donation of which is how much they think the book is worth. That’s another interesting concept, paying what you think something is actually worth rather than paying the stipulated manufacturing price. I’ll give some thought to that…or even work out how to do it.
There are some people who think writers (and there are plenty of others using this method) are mad for using the Pay What You Want or Pay What is Fair sales method. The quote from Gene Simmons when he heard about Radiohead using this method for their In Rainbow’s album is, “I open a store and say, ‘Come on in and pay whatever you want.’ Are you on fucking crack? Do you really believe that’s a business model that works?”
But, maybe people will pay what they think is fair or what they can afford instead of being told what the ‘right’ price is by businesses. I always hear people say, “yeah, in an ideal world we’d be able to…” and then they tell you why you can’t do something because we don’t live in an ideal world - immediately shutting off any change in direction.
I also kind of like the Paul Arden (yes, he was in advertising) thinking on not coveting your ideas. Arden said, “If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish. Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.”
Okay, this ramble has gone on long enough.
I’ll end by saying immense thanks to Laura for completely proof-reading Leaving London, which must have been some task, and I think she still has her sanity. The new digital copy is available now and the paperback will be ready in a few days.
Also thanks to Baxter Ivon for interviewing me recently on his The Wind Sings website (funnily enough, this interview has already been copied by the pirates and is being used to advertise their free books service).