It's been awhile since I thought much about my book, The Laptop Dancer Diaries. Though I still get the occasional sale, I don't spend time marketing it. I admit, though, it's exciting for me to get a sale... not for the money, but just because it's cool to think a stranger wants to read my book enough to pay for it. It's even more exciting when I get a review from a stranger. I make a profit of about $3 with each Amazon sale, and about $1 with the Kindle sales, so... I'm definitely not going to be quitting my day job any time soon, but I'm quite happy that I fulfilled my goal of becoming a published author.
Though I hardly sell any books these days (maybe one a month), I find it odd that currently there are 13 "used copies" and 16 "new copies" of my book on Amazon that sell for cheaper than it cost me to publish. It seems like there are a lot more copies of my book floating around than I know about. First of all, since a vast majority of the books I've sold have been signed copies given to friends and relatives, I'm sometimes tempted to buy one of those used books just to see if I can tell where these used books are coming from! However, though I know my book is not (yet) a collector's item, I can't imagine anyone I know going to the trouble of reselling it!
I have no idea how 16 new copies of my book can be available for cheaper than it cost me to go through Amazon to publish, but it's not worth it for me to go to the book police about this. There are also questionable sites out there who even offer to download the .pdf version for free. I have to admit feeling a bit of pride when I saw a forum where someone was asking if they knew how they could find a free version of my book. My first thought was: Someone wants to read my book! Oh loyal reader, let me send you all the free books you want!
Then, today, I read an article about an idea to pay people to read your book. The article describes an idea that an eReader could have software that would determine if the purchaser actually read the book, and if so, refund them the cost of the book plus an additional amount. The idea was based on the theory that a lot of people buy books, but don't read them, so the author would only be losing money on the smaller percentage of people who actually read the book and making money on all the people who bought it and didn't read it.
I thought the idea was interesting, but didn't like the idea of the eReader software because I think that just sets people up for gaming the system.
I'd like to try a variation of that idea, though, and pay people who purchase my book via Amazon from me (not a reseller), if they send me an email and tell me what they thought of the book. I'll pay back the cost of the book + $1. If they give me a review on Amazon, I'll pay back the cost of the book + $5.
Even though I'll lose money on everyone that responds or gives me a review, I'll be getting feedback and maybe gaining a readership or even some new friends.
What do you think? Wanna get paid to read my book?