You have to sell free

August 13, 2014

Have you ever been given something for free, and saw it not as a gift, but a burden?

Earlier my friend sent me a link to a video. An interesting one, as it turns out, but the link was sent out of the blue, without explanation, when I was busy.

You get a coupon for a free meal, but you know you’ll have to go out of your way to the restaurant to redeem it.

You’re given a birthday gift, but it’s something you would never buy on your own. Now you’re burdened with more stuff you don’t want.

An author gives away a free ebook. That’s nice, but you have limited free time, and you don’t know whether you should spend it on this book.

But it was all free! What am I complaining about?

The problem is that people conflate price with value. Even if something is expensive, if it delivers a great deal of value, it’s a good deal. Likewise, free can have negative value if it imposes a burden of time, attention, or willpower.

You have to sell free. If you send someone a video, give them enough information to know whether they want to watch it or not. Don’t make them work for it. Then it becomes a burden rather than the gift you intended.

What does this have to do with writing? The author example, of course. I intend to release free material after my first novel is complete, because not all the stories I want to tell require a novel’s length. I’ll explain why they’re worth your time though, so they hopefully remain gifts instead of burdens.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

1 Comment

  1. Reply


    There is always a cost, and the biggest overlooked one is time.

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