Thanks for the Free Book . . . Sucker! #author #writing #amwriting #romance #fantasy

There is a new marketing and promotional trend for authors that is growing in popularity. How long it’s been growing I’m not sure, as I was only introduced to it a couple of months ago, but whatever, it’s growing.

So what is this trend?

Giving away full copies, or parts of your novels, or short stories on Instafreebie in order to gain subscribers to your emailing list as well as intrigue people to buy your books.

It’s a great concept for authors, but unfortunately, is backfiring thanks to readers who are taking advantage of the situation and are turning what could be something great into something awful.

And just how are they doing this?

By showing such utter disgusting behavior as subscribing for the newsletter, downloading the free book, then unsubscribing on purpose with the intent of reporting the author’s email as spam.

Are you kidding me?

“Thanks for the fee book, sucker.” Dances around like a toddler. “I got a free book. I got a free book. Then I reported you as spam. Ha ha, ha ha, ha.”

Yes, I just called these people toddlers. Because that’s what they are. Actually, if I’m honest, my toddler has better manners than that. At least she has some moral compass as to how to treat someone, which let’s face it, parents know that toddlers can be some of the most selfish on the planet. If you are a parent, you know. It’s a family joke that my sister’s first word was “mine”.

I get that sometimes a person will sign up for something they think they will be interested in, only to find out after they get into it that they really aren’t. This is why we have the “Look Inside” option on Amazon. This is why people go to book stores and read through the first several pages of a book to see if they want to read the rest. I get this. I understand this.

Perhaps, you signed up, downloaded the free book, then in starting it realized you didn’t like the authors style of writing. It’s a risk we take giving our stuff away for free. While we want everyone to love it, we know there are some who won’t. And that’s okay.

What’s not okay, though is to report that author as spam!

You knowingly signed up for this email to receive something in return. If you didn’t like the book then just unsubscribe and walk away. Don’t report it as spam as though we just hunted down your email and sent you something without your permission. We had your permission!!!!


I suppose as authors we face this everyday though. Between treatment like this, dealing with unsupportive family and friends, and the pain of seeing your novel on the dreaded book pirate sites, this is just another notch in “gotta love my career choice” path. For some reason people have this mindset that they are entitled to an authors work for free. Why, I have no idea. They wouldn’t work for free, and yet, they expect us to. I just don’t get it.

And I’m sure I never will.

15 thoughts on “Thanks for the Free Book . . . Sucker! #author #writing #amwriting #romance #fantasy

    1. Exactly. I understand that sometimes things change. Like when they subscribed they thought they would be interested, but then they read the book and realized they didn’t like the authors style. I get that. But to report it? Ugh.

  1. The entitlement of readers is so real! It amazes me sometimes how readers want everything for free. I kid you not, but I saw a review on Google Play that said, “This is what I like. A quick story, with a quality storyline and free.”

    So basically, the reader wanted a quick story with proper grammar and spelling that’s free. I just shook my head.

    Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me that these readers are reporting the author’s mailing list as spam.

    1. I know, right! Of course, they wouldn’t ever work for free, but for some reason they expect us to. Sometimes family and friends can be the worst ones, too. Always saying things like, “But I’m your friend, can’t you just give me a copy.”

  2. I can’t believe someone would report something THEY signed up for as spam. That blows me away completely. I’ve noticed I get a decent number of unsubscribes from my Instafreebie mailing list. There are plenty of people who just sign up for the freebie, a freebie they may never read, and then unsubscribe. I brace myself for the “spam” reasoning, knowing that I didn’t sign anyone up without their permission. You all did this to yourselves, for goodness sake. You don’t have to be a jerk about it after and flag a newsletter as spam.

    1. Exactly. I don’t think I will use Instafreebie for another email building list. I think I will only do it for just handing out copies to my street team. I actually had decent luck with it. 339 subscribers and only 11 unsubscribed. The people that reported the spam, where from a friends giveaway. They reported her.

      1. I had a huuuuge number sign up from a recent giveaway, and I had, oh, 19 unsubscribe today after I sent a “hay here’s some cool deals” email out. So. I’m not sure how I feel and whether the audience Instafreebie builds at this point has genuine readers or just folks looking for free books. For me, it’s coming down to a quantity vs. quality issue. And that’s awful that that happened to your friend 😦

  3. A lot of people are not aware what “spam” marking does. They think it’s just rerouting emails to a folder they don’t read. Most people don’t realize that marking emails as spam can result in problems for an author, their list, and their email client service.

    1. That’s good to know! Hopefully it was for those reasons they did that, just to reroute them. However, it still leaves the fact that they took the free book with no intention of learning more about the author or giving the author a chance if they just automatically shuffle it over to their spam. Sigh. Oh well. It happens. All we can do is hope it doesn’t ever cause us too much damage like shutting down our account. Lol.

      1. I think the only way to fight back is to 1) make unsubscribe more visible, and instruct people to use it 2)Make sure our messages to readers are enticing(promising only a few messages makes a huge difference in me personally retaining readership) 3) technology aside there’s nothing we can do. The book industry has always been like that and plenty of people read books and enjoy them without ever reading anything else by that person. It sucks, but doing a freebie is agreeing to take a hit for long term games anyway.

        I’d like to think people are malicious, and just think spam is easier than unsubscribing; that they download and just never get around to reading…..BUT I could be overly generous and you’re hitting the mark on the head. It’s hard to know without asking people. That’s the crap part!

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