Dear Author: Stop Giving Everything Away for Free if You are Trying to Run a Business


Not everyone doing well for themselves have “sold out.” Not everyone doing well for themselves are chasing the American dream. Not everyone doing well for themselves are seeking worldly success. These kinds of self-limiting beliefs will leave you stuck, broke, and dimming your light because, ya know, you don’t want people to think you are trying to get rich or die trying.

Stop giving everything away for free if you are trying to run a business.

I have a few free services I offer to authors to contribute to the writing community and my commitment to putting other writers on. (Author Interviews are one of them, and they are free. Click Here to learn how to sign up.) 

As an author, I feel it is my responsibility to do my part to help others. I genuinely believe in the saying, “do what you love, and the money will come,” so money has never (and will never) be my focus. My focus is on doing what I love while providing as much value as I can to others. I am passionate about writing, so it doesn’t feel like work, and I am happy to help no matter the circumstance. Besides my free services and tutorials, I also give away free chapters of books on this blog or my email list. 

But freebies must be kept to a minimum because I do run a business.

Would you work a 9-5 for free? Would it be more righteous for us to wait for a corporate promotion than to run our own business? Why is working for someone more admirable and respected than someone working for themselves?

While freebies are useful, keep them to a minimum. It’s okay (and I would even recommend it) to give stuff away for free now and again. How else will people get to sample your work? The problem is if everything you do is free, you are teaching your audience not to take you seriously, and they will get used to you doing everything free. Set a few things aside as freebies (maybe they get a free book when they sign up to your author newsletter) but charge your worth in other areas.

Advice is a consult and comes with a price, teaching is a service and comes with a price, and I am sorry, but no, all of my ebooks are not 99cents. This is not a game, I did not come to play, and neither should you. YOU are important. YOU are special, your work is exceptional, and in 2019 you deserve more.

  • Educate yourself to ensure that what you are charging for is valuable (research, research, research)
  • Charge your worth
  • Ask your clients to leave reviews. Reviews are like witnesses that your product/service is of good quality and worth the time / money investment.

This isn’t about money, but let’s stop acting like people don’t need money to live in this world. Let’s stop acting like your children don’t need to eat, your bills don’t need to be paid, and your books don’t need to be edited.

This is about knowing your worth and your value professionally. Financial literacy and management are the backbones of successful businesses. You don’t have to spend hours of blood, sweat, tears, and money, sacrificing your time and energy writing and doing all these AMAZING things so that you can give it away for free.

Not everything free is valuable. Paying for something of good quality creates more of a commitment to follow-through. When someone pays for something, they are more likely to listen to, watch, apply or read it. If they didn’t pay for it, they are more likely to put it off for a better time, and a better time may never come. I can’t tell you how many ebooks are on the Kindle that I got for free. I intend to read them all, but the ones I read first are the ones I paid for. That’s just real.

How serious are you about your writing? Either this is an expensive hobby or a writing business. You choose.

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I write to restore Black Historical Truth for the freedom of all people. Visit me online at and @yecheilyah on IG and Twitter.

21 thoughts on “Dear Author: Stop Giving Everything Away for Free if You are Trying to Run a Business”

  1. You’re right – writing is a business; and writers can’t give away their time. Putting a price on something also creates a sense of value for it, which ‘free’ does not. It is not about greed, but about such simple matters as recognising the worth in the products of somebody’s imagination and effort. And as a writer, I hope the ‘race to the bottom’ that followed the arrival of Kindle has run its course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are right about this. Authors have a tenancy to give their kindle and ebooks away for free and I don’t believe in that. Is is jolly hard work to put a book together and covers and editing are expensive. People should pay something for your intellectual property.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly my point. I didn’t mention it in the post, but if someone is giving away maybe the first book to a series or have their book on 99cents for a limited time or something like that or free on Kindle Unlimited, I think that’s okay. That’s strategy, and it works for lots of authors. It is when we start giving away PDFs and ebooks like its candy or thinking freebies is the only strategy that we fall into the habit of not charging for our value.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this topic. I interview writers because I enjoy it and do it free because I find writers and artists interesting. Most of the writers I know through word press write in different genres and some of them can write a novel in less than two weeks. They are disciplined, focused, and smart. I genre is poetry. The poetry is about language as music. Can writing as a spiritual practice become a product?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great question and I would absolutely think so. In fact, writing itself can be considered a spiritual practice. Anytime you sit down to write to vent or relieve stress or to be intimate in the way that writing requires this is, I believe, a spiritual experience. And since no one who writes anything worth reading does it specifically to make money, I imagine the product of this spiritual practice is the book that has resulted from it. The novel with spiritual concepts, the self-help book, the seminar or speaking engagement, the blog, e.g. The idea is usually not at first to have a product. The idea is usually at first to heal and to inspire and to empower. From that, you realize this is something everyone needs and can benefit from so you start to ask yourself how you can create a business opportunity from it. In other words, none of the poetry I write, for example, is ever so that I can publish a collection of poetry. It is always for my own healing first and then after some time I find it necessary to share this with others in a book form so that not only am I healing but others get to heal as well. Hope that answers your question!

      Liked by 1 person

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