From what I can tell, there are two kinds of self-pubbers:
- The kind that only has one or two books in them and prices their book according to what they think their time and effort is "worth," even if it's vastly overpriced for the market.
- The kind that succeeds.
Self-publishing isn't about hitting a home run with one brilliant novel. It's all about getting your leadoff guy on base, and scratching out runs. After a while, some power hitters may emerge, and then you're rolling.
I'll be blunt: A lot of writers I've run across won't even get a chance at the plate. Why? Because they let pride and shortsightedness get in the way of them offering free content.
Everyone loves free stuff. No cost makes people try some things that they never would have shelled out hard cash for.
As soon as I made the decision to self-publish, I knew that I needed to offer something significant for no cost, just to get my writing in as many hands as possible. Thus, the short story collection Underneath: Short Tales of Horror and the Supernatural was born. In one month of release on Amazon, Underneath has made it into the hands of nearly 4,000 people. That's just on Amazon. Though I don't have the actual numbers for B&N yet, Underneath is actually still climbing up; the first time I checked it was ranked at 400,000+, and as of today it's under 13,000.
Am I making any money directly off of it? No. Will it make me money for every single one of my present and future works merely because it offers an entirely risk-free look at what I have to offer. Hells, yeah. It's a gateway drug for readers.
If you're not offering something substantial for free, you're not doing you or your other books any favors.