Yes, folks, I accidentally sold a free book. Sigh. How could such a thing happen, you ask? Well... as you might guess--it's complicated.
Four years ago I wrote my very first novel, a story of a wounded soldier returning home to deal with PTSD, hearing loss, the death of a good friend (and the resulting guilt) and the dawning realization that he is gay. I poured a lot of myself into that book and, considering it too personal to sell, I gave it away. The novel is The Telling, available in ebook form for free at All Romance eBooks.
How does that equal selling a free book? There's more to the story.
Not only is the book offered at ARe, but ReviewsbyJessewave allowed me to post it there, it's on Nifty Archive, on the GLBT Bookshelf, and at CRVBoy. An amazing thing happened shortly thereafter. I received emails, lots and lots of emails from readers, some who were military or former military personnel and identified with the main character's struggles. I made friends, and I don't simply mean a name on a Facebook or Twitter list, but honest to goodness, "something great (or awful) happened, I simply must tell ____" kinds of friends.
Through this book I met Farmer John. Those who met me at GRL know how dear that man is to me. I also met a man with his own stories to tell who needed a bit of encouragement to bring his great characters to life, new author, Parker Williams. And I met Bruce, a dear, sweet friend. I also met Mrs. Condit, of Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books, and many, many more wonderful people whom I'd probably never have known without this story.
And let's not forget Jared Rackler, P.D. Singer, Tinnean, and all the others who gave me encouragement, their wisdom, their beta skills, and the covers.
Recently an email arrived from a man who wanted a print copy. I'd kinda like one too. That said, my support team and I revamped the story, changed to a cover that is print-friendly, and republished the book as a second edition through Rocky Ridge Books (thank you, P.D. Singer, and your mad books skillz!). In a few days The Telling will be available in print for those who'd like a copy.
I know, I know, "selling a free book". I'm getting there.
In order to reach a new audience, I wanted to post the story to Amazon, but Amazon doesn't allow anyone to post a story for less than 99 cents. What to do? Well, I published the book for 99 cents, hoping folks would click that "Tell us about a lower price" link, and point Amazon to ARe. I figured within a few hours the price would be matched. Well, it wasn't, and as of this writing, it still isn't. And I don’t know when that will change.
To be honest, I'm quite embarrassed, for the book is a gift to readers, and now it's earning money, albeit a modest amount. What to do? What to do?
I'm hoping my solution to the dilemma will make everyone happy. All proceeds for these sales of The Telling will be donated to my local chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), of which I'm a proud participant.
And you know what? When I first announced my decision, folks contacted me and told me that even though they knew they could download the book for free, they bought it at Amazon anyway to support PFLAG. Some people who already had a copy of the first edition bought the second edition, too, to show support. Dang, I love the M/M romance community.
So that's how I, Eden Winters, accidentally sold a free book. And like all my other stories, this one will have a happy ending.
Thanks, y'all, for your support. You’ve propelled The Telling into the top ten of Amazon’s Gay Romance category, and raised money for a worthy cause.