Tuesday, 9 October 2012

No Gypsies Served FREE on Kindle soon!

I few weeks’ ago I drafted a blog post about free Kindle downloads, stressing the negatives, but I never published it because I sensed that this was something I might later regret. The whole publishing scene is shifting and reinventing itself on a daily basis. I felt my opinion might change – and it has!

After a lot of thought, yes, No Gypsies Served, my second novel, will be FREE for you to download 12 Oct – 16 Oct. Please tell, Tweet or email all your friends, colleagues, neighbours, family, anyone you know who reads e-books, of this special promotion. Thanks!
As I said a couple of weeks ago in The Changing Face of Waterstones,  ‘Waterstones is selling Kindle e-readers to its customers, with the idea that customers can browse books in their shops – the touchy feely version – and then if they want an ebook version they can download it while in the shop. Whether this will work or not, for them, as a profitable venture will remain to be seen. I guess they feel people are doing this anyway, and if they can be part of the experience so much the better. In other words, if you can’t beat them, join them!’  That is a bit how I feel!

This is a shortened version – it looks at the parallels with the music industry to see if authors and publishers can learn from this.
There is divided opinion among authors I know, through Famous Five Plus and  Love a Happy Ending, on the pros and cons of offering their books for free. This is a marketing strategy of Amazon’s KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing). They suggest that in the 90 days when you forego offering your work on any other ebook platform, you also offer your book as a free download for up to 5 days. It will get your book known, being read by many more readers, who may give some good reviews; it can gain visibility in the free charts; and it could ultimately lead to an increase in real sales after the special offer expires. Kindle’s strategy may also include giving a wider market a powerful incentive to buy the e-reader device. The question is, is this a good idea for authors? Although it may seem like a wonderful idea for readers, does it offer a rich and broad spectrum of daring books that traditional publishers may have seen as high-risk, or open up a plethora of mediocre books?

Personally, I felt doubtful about the whole thing. I had worked hard to produce my three novels! Now, was I expected to just give them away for nothing?!
I spoke to Andy Malt, Editor of music business website CMU (http://www.theCMUwebsite.com). Over the last decade he has seen the music industry going through many changes similar to those happening now in book publishing.

How does free downloading work with music? What have been the key changes in the music industry in the last 8 - 10 years that we, in the book world, can learn from?
Well, illegal downloading took off at the turn of the century and has continued to boom ever since, but that's a massive topic to cover in itself, and not what we're really talking about here, so I'll concentrate on legitimately offered downloads.

There's no hard and fast rule for how it works, but there are three main ways of doing it. Either just giving away the single tracks completely for free, giving away single tracks in exchange for an email address, or giving away a complete album and then trying to drive people to buy limited edition physical copies. These tend to suit artists at different stages in their career. These strategies have taken a long time to develop properly and as ebooks begin to take off there is much the publishing industry can learn from what the music industry has been through (and much beyond giving things away for free). But the ultimate question when you give something away for free is: How will this help me achieve what I want to achieve?
With the benefit of hindsight, do you think any artists may have regretted giving their music away? Or, conversely, has it worked miracles for them?

The answer is yes to both. Many think that the prevalence of free music online has devalued it to a point where people don't really care about it any more. Conversely, many see it as levelling the playing field for artists, because the internet provides everyone with easy distribution tools, removing many of the barriers that previously existed in reaching potential fans. People are able to listen to a far broader range of music from all over the world now because the access is so much greater. But that of course means the competition for your ears (or in the case of books, eyes) is also much greater.
Is it a question of short term gain, maybe not so good in the long-term?

No, I think it's the opposite. In order for all of these things to pay off you have to think in the long term. Early in an artist's career, giving music away can help them to get their name known. The hope would be that they have a long and successful enough career to earn a good living later. Those early fans will always be important, because they're the people who will evangelise for you as you rise up the ranks.
As I said before, the question you need to ask is 'How will this help me achieve what I want to achieve?'. If you want to have a long term career and make music or write books for the rest of your life, then foregoing financial gain in the short term (which is far from assured, anyway) may ultimately be what pushes you towards that goal.

Are there differences between the UK and US? Are they ahead of the game in the US, do you think?
Europe was ahead of the US in terms of adoption and acceptance of digital music at one stage (in terms of the industry - the fans have been on it for a long time), but that has changed more recently. There's still a resistance to it from some quarters, but I think we've reached a point now where the music industry knows that the internet isn't going to go away. The fans are going to get what they want, so resistance is counterproductive.

Thanks Andy!’
It’s all pretty experimental in the e-publishing world at the moment which makes it both fascinating and exciting.

So - if you would like something for nothing, then please download here in a few days’ time!  (Friday 12 Oct - Tuesday 16 Oct) Remember you can read Kindle books on your PC, Mac or iPad, if you don’t have a Kindle, so long as you have the right software or App.

Some reviews of No Gypsies Served

Many FIVE STARS here on  Amazon 

A few interesting insights into No Gypsies Served, by Scarlett de Courcier,  Bohemiacademia
“I'd recommend them as essential reading to anyone; I think they should be in every local library, preferably on the 'recommended' shelf, “

“ … if I'm going on just how much I was impressed by a book, and how important it is to society at the moment, Wakerly's two novels have to take joint second place. 

Really, really beautifully written.”

Louise Graham,  Lou Graham's Blog 
“Miriam has really helped me understand the Gypsy community a little bit better with some compassion.”

Nikki Bywater, Books 4U
“… another wonderful read by Miriam Wakerly  …really portrays Gypsies and Travelling people as individual characters”

Kay Green, Booksy
" … deftly using a variety of plot-devices to fill in the picture whilst maintaining page-turning momentum.

… Wakerly is remarkably good at passing the reader food for thought without ever preaching. She makes no judgemental comments as she passes …”
Michael Smith,   O NEVO DROM
“This book is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend to the reader and the story will leave the reader spellbound throughout the entire book. Miriam has put so many different angles and plots into this book that boredom just cannot ever rear its head, making this book a real page turner.”

And something extra from  Love a Happy Ending See a wonderful photo here - and why!!

"No Gypsies Served picks up the story of Gypsies Stop tHere two years on, in Appley Green; so it is a sequel but, as it goes back in time, it is also the prequel. You could read No Gypsies Served first if you prefer because they also stand alone as stories."


1 comment:

  1. This strikes me as something we might utilise, Miriam - 'giving away single tracks in exchange for an email address'. Great post, guys. Some really sensible advice re short/long term aims. :) xx