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To charge or not to charge

August 17, 2011

So I had a dilemma. I had written the short story for Life Lessons 1 1/2, mainly for fun, and to show Tony and Mac experiencing some of the things that didn’t fit into the first book (like closure for Marty.) And I put it out there as a free read. And then I got a comment from someone about looking for my books on Amazon and they’d heard there was a short story and didn’t see it, etc…

So I went to see about self-pubbing the short story on Amazon. And it’s easy to do. But…they won’t let you post it for free. The lowest price you can choose is .99 which is pretty cheap, but not free.

I spent too many hours waffling over whether people would want to pay to read these stories in order. If it was me (and I used to be one of those people who never looked for books outside the big-name sites) would I rather pay .99 for a short that was free elsewhere, or would I rather not know it existed? In the end, I went for the .99 and so I published And to All a Good Night on Amazon.

I decided to get some good out of this, by donating any royalties I get to a local HIV/AIDS charity. That way if readers find the story for free later after they’ve already paid for it, at least they know the money went to a good cause. And The Aliveness Project is already going to get over $50 out of it (at .34 per copy, it adds up slowly).

However I’ve had people weighing in on it being unethical to charge for something that is otherwise free. So I don’t know…maybe I should pull it off again. In the meantime, if you’re on Amazon and have the time, click the little “Tell us about a lower price” link on And to All a Good Night and send the URL for Smashwords. Maybe Amazon will drop the price to free too. Or don’t, if you think the Aliveness Project should get a few bucks and no harm done. Never figured throwing an extra story out there would get this complicated.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christie permalink
    August 17, 2011 10:35 am

    Don’t second-guess your good intentions and don’t pull the story from Amazon for a few crabby people who probably don’t know the meaning of ‘unethical.’ You’re following Amazon’s policy and the money is going to charity for heaven’s sake! If they don’t like it, they don’t have to pay, do they? The crabs can actually make an effort to find your website and get the story for free if they’re so all-fired indignant. Even I can afford 99 cents and I’m a freelancer.

    Sorry for the impatience but I’ve been reading about romance author Cynthia Eden and her troubles with a fanfiction website where a leech posted one of Eden’s stories and claimed it as her own. After much, much effort the liar’s theft was acknowledged and the story taken down. That’s truly unethical!

    At the moment I find the majority of people and their mealy-mouthed indignation extremely annoying.

    • August 17, 2011 11:47 am

      Thanks. I’ve left it that way for now. Boy, it would be rough to find someone else claiming your work. The Internet makes a lot of wonderful things happen but it surely makes some other less wonderful ones easier too. I’m glad she was successful in the end.

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