I Don’t Want Your Free Book

I got started holding contests and giveaways when I first started writing. It’s a fun way to get people excited and I like doing things that are a bit off the beaten path. If you don’t believe me, check out MANday, my murder mystery and event videos, or my Kindle Fire contest.

Earlier this year I signed up for the KDP Select program at Amazon and starting giving away e-books. I was stunned when my first title was downloaded 65,000 times in two weeks. About 63,000 of those were free books.

I was so excited that I enrolled all my books and started giving them away with abandon. In two months I gave away about 120,000 e-books. It takes time for readers to get around to all those free books and some people have so many they can’t possibly read them all. But the hope is the freebies will get more people hooked on my work.

Yes, I’m marketing like a crack dealer, but books are good for you.

My message today begins with a free book but that isn’t what it’s really about.

Last week I offered a free book to someone and she said, “I love your work, but I don’t want a free book. I want to pay for it.” She actually waited for the book to go back on sale so she could buy it.

I’ve heard this before. Many people have purchased books out of my trunk at a steep discount. Several have told me they want to pay more and have even tried giving me an extra five bucks thinking I wouldn’t notice.

These people want me to make a living. They want me to succeed so I’ll keep writing. They know I need to earn something and they are willing to give more than necessary. I’m really touched by this today.

Writers create books and blogs and posts online but we never truly know how much we touch people. Lots of people lurk. They read and enjoy what we have to say, but we don’t often hear from them.

Today is my birthday and my Facebook page is flooded with messages. I’m really grateful for the outpouring of support. And just for fun I want to share some great images friends sent me today.

This one made me smile!


What a perfect cake for me!


How thoughtful!
This is actually on my diet!


Working alone (and being single), my online friends are a huge part of my community and I want to thank you all for making me part of your life’s journey. On days like today I realize how blessed I am.

I’ve planned a birthday party on May 23 to coincide with the release of a short story. Several author friends are lining up to give away e-books. I hope you’ll join me for a fun celebration.

A very special thanks today to all of you who join in, reach out, and become part of my world.


15 Comments on “I Don’t Want Your Free Book”

  1. CJ, I will always pay writers for their books. They deserve to be paid for the work that they do. You write with passion and paint a beautiful stunning pictures in my mind. I love your words and style! Thank you for everything you do.

    Oh…and happy birthday!

  2. Good morning CJ. Awesome story! And Happy Birthday!

  3. Running from Hell with El says:

    Happy Birthday CJ!! And I agree. I cannot bear to get free books from other writers. One time, I did accept one and then was consumed by writer’s guilt.

  4. cindysamuel says:

    Another great post!I will add my wish for a very Happy Birthday, a very prosperous year, and all the wealth health and happiness you so richly deserve. Your books are worth far more than what we actually pay for them!

  5. Matthew R. Merrick says:

    I love the Forbes cover haha. Looks great. And it’s great to hear about the readers that want to pay more for your work. It really shows how much they enjoy your stories, and they want more. They know that paying for your books is a surefire way to make that happen, and I think that’s not only great, but really touching.

    Happy Birthday CJ! Hope you’re having a really great day.

    • cjwestkills says:

      Thanks Matthew.

      It is really touching when someone does something for you that’s clearly not in their interest especially when it comes from people who barely know you.

      It really restores your faith in the goodness of people.

  6. Congrats on so many downloads! Happy Birthday – and keep up the good work pushing your product 😉

  7. How nice to hear someone wants to pay for your work, such a great complement.

  8. Fritzie says:

    Happy Birthday CJ!!!! Better late that never…. 🙂

  9. bravo CJ, great article… your honesty and passion shines through in all you do. you were made to do this… 🙂

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