Monday, March 5, 2012

The Digital Day Trader: three free Kindle books

I joke with my writer friends that we are no longer writers, we are digital day traders.

In some ways, it is no joke. Not with 100,000 books vying for the few slots on the Kindle Select roulette wheel, and not with thousands of dollars, and even tens of thousands of dollars, riding on the outcome of each spin. Almost without exception, the Kindle lottery winners of 2012 have been those who were the best--or the luckiest--at giving away books.

Some get picked up by the big freebie sites like Pixel of Ink and Ereader News Today and never even know they got lucky. They just roll out on the other side thinking they must be awesome writers because they ended up getting dumped into the Top 100. But it is hardly something to brag about, and hardly a literary accomplishment. It's a different form of luck, the same different luck that made Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and Twilight wildly successful.

(And if you don't think those books were just a different kind of luck, you don't know much about the publishing business. Because there are plenty of books of equal or even greater quality languishing in bottom drawers around the world.) But I don't want to turn my blog into a "writer blog." This is more about the philosophy of ego, and pushing your luck.

I've been pretty lucky with making books free, and I push my luck. I announce the free books (like I do below, with links) and create digital vehicles like Epic Kindle Giveaway to promote them. I am working on some other projects along those lines, blurring into creative entrepreneurship, but all built around my own creative works. Because that is my interest, not money. I recognize the ego attachment to my own work (after all, my NAME is BIG on the covers!!!) But they are just ideas, not me. I happen to be a writer, but that is not all I am. I am also a gardener, father, husband, and digital day trader.

I see time as my most valuable resource, not money. Time allows me to write. But if I don't make smart bets in my digital day trading, my time goes back to the local newspaper or carpentry or house painting, noble professions all, but not the ones that serve my highest purpose. Those are not the things God created me to do. This is what I do, and what fits, and what I was born and shaped to become. I had plenty of books, books some even consider "good," but it was meaningless until the wheel rolled into the picture. Luck. But without the books, the best timing in the world is worthless. If I were starting now, I would never even make it to the wheel to give it a spin.

Luckily, it is cheap or free to play digital day trader. And it pays better than writing, so we can afford to philosophize. Sure, some losers will have to go back to service jobs at temp wages, but lottery losers are no better or worse than lottery winners. They just had a different kind of luck.

Me, I am pushing my luck. But it's still luck.


The Skull Ring (Bonus Edition with Screenplay)

Supernatural horror:
Burial to Follow

Children’s picture book:
Duncan the Punkin


bluefrog said...

Thank you! I already had the first two, but not Duncan the Punkin. I have your other children's books on my Fire to share with my grandson. :)

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Frog, I hope he enjoys them!

Don Broma said...

I can see how offering free downloads can be a good way to bring interest to your other titles, and I definitely agree with the whole 'luck' perception of book success, but I'm curious if a point can be reached in which giving things away for free can hurt your sales. I mean, if you give every book away for free, even if it's not all at once, you've lost the chance to sell those titles to the people who've downloaded them. Do you worry about that?

Lisa Nolan said...

I, too, agree with your freebie idea for writers (with a lot of luck thrown in!). I published three Kindle books (non-fiction), but I also created a free 30 page PDF (on for related content, and I am in the process of creating two more related 30 to 50-page free PDFs (mostly content from my blogs that, over time, add up--which is how I just published my three 100-page Kindle books!).

And when I see others doing the same, and I think it's of interest to my readers, I promote the heck out of them (like a free Kindle book I just downloaded today called Gardening on a Shoestring--tons of moms were linking, pinning, FBing, tweeting, et al., including me, to it! And I'd buy it! But had it not been free (for a short time) I would not have known about her, her blog (about upcycle and DIY art in the garden--how cool is that!?). So don't be afraid to go freebie once in a while!

Love your blog (yeah, I write fiction too)!

Lisa Nolan said...

Ha! I just noticed your Kindle freebies for children, I tweeted, FBed, and pinned them! Hope you gets lots of interest!

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