Reading to kids is one of the most important developmental aspects of life. With rising numbers of families struggling today, quality education should be free or accessible for all.
I am Trevor Carss, children’s author and illustrator of more than 70 self-published stories for kids and grown-ups. My approach is unique from the publishing world in that all of these tales are free in eBook, audio and video narration. My decision to make everything free is driven by a mission and desire to brighten the world.
How are you going to compete with The Very Hungry Caterpillar today? If Eric Carle prices his story at $4.99, an author selling picture books can’t possibly stretch beyond that benchmark without having a certified masterpiece on their hands. Pricing competitively becomes a challenge when only so many books are being bought for kids now.
Constructing a masterpiece is not a clear-cut process, especially for new authors like me. Trials and errors are necessary to start that journey. It’s best not to seek perfection, but to seek uniqueness. What can be a story that takes a more indie, new-age approach? What is your true artistic style? Sometimes, copying what’s worked in the past might not work now (if it were true, we’d see more radio hosts popping up instead of podcasters).
Forget the noise. I’ve decided to construct a new path. You should consider it too. If people like my stories, they will contribute via donation. If not, it means I need to get better at the craft. This is like finding your 1,000 true fans. Those fans will buy anything for you. Find them.
Launching a book and charging for it is the same as every other author today. You have to stand out from the crowd by doing something different with your launch. Most authors simply shy away from giveaways. Good. That’s where others can shine.
My approach is to give away all of my books. For free. Right now, YouTube is doing this with video. You can watch a seemingly unlimited amount of video content there. Or, your podcast app gives you access to even more free content in the way of audio. Even on Amazon, subscriptions allow for unlimited free access to books. Same goes for video content on Netflix. Free content is becoming the norm. Most creatives are still not capitalizing on the approach to give value for free, while the big platforms capitalize.
By giving away free things, you increase your reach. You increase your potential for new readers. You eliminate payment gateways. You get straight to the story.
Loyal readers will start following you. The longer you wait to charge them, the more loyal they become. Find that line where your fans will do anything for you and buy anything from you.
It might be a dozen more books before I hit my stride. Maybe a few dozen. However, by giving away my books for free, I cut down on publishing times. I can launch and promote a new story in a day without gatekeepers getting in the way. I own the content creation and delivery. Isn’t it time that authors gain control of the publishing process?
One day, perhaps.