Something for nothing – really?!

Five days ago I made an offer of a free book to WordPress readers. A number of people liked the post and checked-out the link, but no-one signed up for either of the books.

This bothered me somewhat as my audience is largely driven by fellow writers and readers, people who search for things tagged as ‘writing’, ‘reading’, ‘poetry’ and so on. What was the problem? I had assumed – naively as it turns out! – that the prospect of being given a free ebook would be snapped up; after all, where was the risk? Read a page and like it, read to the end. Read a page and don’t like it, just stop.

There will be no visit from the Not-reading-my-book Police…

So I thought I’d expand my offer to another of my social media networks, one that is not writing-centric but where I have over a thousand direction connections. And guess what? Exactly the same. Lots of ‘browsers’, but no takers.

Given the breadth of the audience I approached – friends, colleagues, fellow writers and book-lovers – what does such a response, such a lack of take-up, say about us all?

Perhaps not surprisingly I can’t think of anything particularly good. Does it demonstrate that these days we are inherently suspicious – even of someone we know?! That at some level we don’t really care about others? Or that we’re not prepared to take a risk – even when there is none? Is there a fear in making – risking?! – a new connection?

I felt like a man in the street unsuccessfully trying to give away money…

But in the end my conclusion was that the reason people weren’t interested might probably be because I wasn’t ‘a name’. If JKRowling or Tom Clancy or Charles Dickens had tried such a stunt, would their offer have fallen on fallow ground? I don’t think so. How cool would it be to be able to say “I’ve just got a free book direct from Dan Brown”? [insert the name of your favourite author].

Well I can’t do anything about that right now. Maybe if enough people were to read my work I might become a name one day. Isn’t that the journey we’re all making here, though “more in hope than expectation”….