(This has now ended and the files are no longer available, though the message still stands. I may do this again in 2016, so keep an eye out for the next time. Thanks to everyone who shared on social media and emailed me letting me know your thoughts; I appreciate it, and I’m glad so many of you found the idea helpful.)
Uh…hi. I haven’t touched my blog in a while, have I?
So this past week there was a bit of a kerfluffle on Twitter when an author made (and, I believe, has since apologized for) a few poorly-thought-out statements about people who pirate books because they can’t afford them, basically income-shaming readers. That kerfluffle turned into a large portion of the book community having a really productive discussion and opening a lot of eyes to classism in Booklandia, primarily among YA lit but pervading across pretty much any genre and age group.
The struggle between books and even the most basic necessities is one I understand. I’ve been that person counting pennies to figure out if I can afford something more than ramen for the week. As a consultant with fluctuating income and unpredictable circumstances, some months are harder than others. Sometimes I can splurge on my addiction to graphic design gadgets. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I have to choose to care for my pets’ health over my own, because they can’t make that choice for themselves. Sometimes I have to choose between books and toilet paper; sometimes my book budget for the month is in triple digits; sometimes it’s in single digits; in some instances, it’s been zero. Fuck, in some instances it’s been in the negatives. It happens. That’s life. People struggle. I’m not one to talk about my financial circumstances, but it’s not something anyone should be shamed for. I’m not ashamed of the fact that as a kid, the only books I owned came from free book days at the library because my family was struggling enough that dinner, some nights, was a can of vienna sausages. And when the readers who can’t afford books are kids, that’s a double stressor because they may have to ask parents for money they just don’t have.
Sometimes life is rough. And sometimes books are all we have to pull us out of that. Sometimes the people you might shame for not being able to afford books are the people who need those books the most. Who need stories that speak to them, and remind them that economic disadvantage does not separate them from their humanity.
And while authors are often struggling just as much as readers, and sometimes those pennies from our book royalties make a difference between microwaving a bowl of broth vs. getting to indulge in takeaway, or sitting with the lights out vs. putting down just enough on the electric to avoid cutoff…it does no one any good if books are priced out of the market or inaccessible to readers below a certain income level and / or living in areas without access to libraries. Books are beyond special, but they should never be a privilege solely for people above a certain tier of wealth or income stability. That doesn’t mean I advocate piracy; piracy is a problem, and you can bet I get twitchy when I see one of mine pop up on a pirate site, even if there’s little I can do in many cases. But I do advocate for making books more accessible and not gating that access, and not deciding for someone else what they should be able to afford when we don’t know their circumstances. There are a lot of ways to address this systemically, from supporting greater library access to bookmobiles to book donation drives.
My personal way of addressing it?
I’m giving my independent books away free this weekend.
I know it’s barely a drop in the bucket. One C-list indie author is not going to change much by giving his books away for a weekend, and my books are not age-appropriate for YA (well, the contemps might be close, let’s not even pretend there’s no sex in YA or that teens don’t read adult romance) so it’s not addressing the issue of kids not having access to expensive books. But they’re here for adults with the same issue, and doing it is better than not doing it. So. If you’ve been curious about my books but just haven’t had room in your book budget, now’s your chance to grab them. If you own them already, tell someone you know who’s been curious but couldn’t afford it. If you can afford it, again…tell someone who can’t.
Right. Enough blathering then, and:
(link removed; giveaway over)
This file will remain active until 9:00am CST on Monday, 12-21-2015. Just unzip and load the files onto your device of choice; .mobi for Kindle, .epub for everything else. Depending on your browser, you can either click the link to start the download, or right-click and select “Save As.”
- The Lost: A Crow City Novel (Crow City #1; Cole McCade: After Dark Contemporary Erotica)
Formats: .epub & .mobi
- A Second Chance at Paris (Bayou’s End #1; Contemporary Romance)
Formats: .epub & .mobi
- Zero Day Exploit (Bayou’s End #1.5; Contemporary Romance)
Formats: .epub & .mobi
(Okay, yes, ZDE was already free, but I’m packaging them all together for completeness.)
Q. Why don’t you make them free on Amazon and B&N so I can have them sent to my e-reader that way?
A. Because coordinating pricing across all markets / distributors is a nightmare, especially since I’m not in KDP Select on Amazon and can’t set my books to free without a lot of emailing, threats, and snarling. That would turn this into a 2-3 week mess instead of just a quick weekend thing.
Q. Aren’t you afraid of someone putting your books up on pirate sites?
A. *laughs* Honey, they’re already there. I’m just choosing to give you a legitimate way to get them for free for the weekend.
Q. I missed the free weekend! What do I do?
A. Ask around. Friends might have the files and would probably be happy to send them to you.
Q. None of my friends have the files. I really want to read your books but I just don’t have the money, and I’d rather not pirate.
A. Email me. Let’s see if we can work something out.
Q. Aren’t you worried about losing money?
A. No. If someone couldn’t afford to buy my books before, giving them for free isn’t taking money out of my pocket when they weren’t putting money in my pocket in the first place. Let’s see…zero, add the zero, carry the zero…still equals zero. Only difference is hey, now someone’s got a book and I hope they love it.
Q. Then why not give them away for free all the time?
A. Because I’ve got bills to pay too, and I appreciate when people who can afford my books do and choose to support me and all the other authors out there working to make a living.
Q. Aren’t you worried about people taking advantage and getting the books free when they could have afforded to pay?
A. *shrugs* I’m not policing. What’s in your wallet isn’t my business. Books are here regardless of the reasons for downloading. Free is free.
Q. Will you do this again in the future when you have more books out?
A. Maybe. We’ll see how it goes this time, and if there’s interest in doing it again. Some of my books are contracted to publishers, so I don’t have control over giving those away. But I may with my indie titles.
Q. Why isn’t Winter Rain included in this?
A. Winter Rain is an independent anthology featuring multiple authors, which was curated, edited, and published by a separate publisher. I don’t have the rights or permission to give away an indeterminate number of copies for free.
Q. What if I download the books and I hate them?
A. That’s okay! Not everyone likes the same thing. Free books aren’t equivalent to LOVE ME NOW OR ELSE. You don’t even have to review them. They’re just free books. No strings. Stick them on your TBR for a day or a year or forever. Enjoy, or don’t. I promise I’ll still love you if you don’t. Er. Well. As much as I can without being creepy when I don’t really know you. Whomever you are. Who’s reading this? Where are we? What’s going on?
…I’ll stop being silly now.
|NEW CROW CITY COVERS
The Crow City Series now has a new cover set – dark, sleek, and just in time for the latest book in the series. See the full series covers here.
TWENTY NOTES TO THE ANXIOUS, MELANCHOLY WRITER
|AUTUMN (CROW CITY #2.75)
The latest installment in the Crow City series is here – with series favorites Walford Gallifrey and Joseph Armitage returning in a poignant story of reconciliation and newfound love in the first contemporary M/M in the Crow City Series.