Indie Book Collective discussion

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thoughts on giving free ebook

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message 1: by Jenelle (new)

Jenelle I would say that if you give away your first book for free, it should definitely be within a limited window of time.

I have done two "free" exercises. One for a single day, one for a weekend, and have not had anywhere near the success others have expressed having.

The first time was for a single day, and I got over 500 downloads of my book. Sales went up a bit, but not for very long. I did not do much to promote it.

The second time, I offered it free for a weekend as a promotional tool for my second book. I did a TON more promotion of the giveaway and got a total of about 100 downloads, and have had a total of 2 sales since then.

I have had pretty good success with goodreads giveaways of the physical book, for what it's worth.


message 2: by Lou (new)

Lou Harper | 43 comments No. Write the second book first. When you publish that than have your first book for free for a limited time.


message 3: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Edwardson | 52 comments There is an author named Michael Hicks who has had a great deal of success making the first book in his series free once he has two or more in the series. Others have had success with that model is well. It's not the only model, but it may work for you.

Since you have only one book, you might consider promotional giveaways for a limited time as Jenelle suggested. I would not price it free permanently until you have two or three books out.


message 4: by Thaddeus (new)

Thaddeus White | 24 comments I'm copying an idea from Stephen Sweeney, author of the Battle for the Solar System trilogy, for my forthcoming trilogy. I'm going to produce two versions of book 1, and give an abridged version away for free. Because the trilogy's about a civil war I'll be able to give away all the chapters from one side's perspective, and I'm hoping that'll work well.

I can see the advantages of giving a book away for free, but it saddens me that people get paid nothing for so much work. It might be an idea (if you decide to give book 1 away free) to release either everything or 1 and 2 at the same time. That way people who love 1 can immediately buy 2. If there's a year or more to wait that may decrease the buying impact.


message 5: by Sadie (last edited Jun 10, 2013 10:17PM) (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 6 comments Thaddeus wrote: "I'm copying an idea from Stephen Sweeney, author of the Battle for the Solar System trilogy, for my forthcoming trilogy. I'm going to produce two versions of book 1, and give an abridged version aw..."

As a reader this would annoy the heck out of me. I don't want to read a version of the book. I want to read THE book. Just my opinion, of course.

As far as free or not free it seems to me it matters what your goal is. If your goal is to sell books, then being free long term is counterproductive. How do you sell something that is free? If you're a new author in need of reviews, however, this could be a really effective method.

Flip side, if the book is the first in a series and the rest are available at a cost then that is where you can find your sales, on the sequels. I knows I often grab a free book and then buy the sequels. If you only have one out though, it seems a little pointless.


message 6: by Lila (new)

Lila Veen (lilaveen) | 8 comments I've been wondering about doing this as well. I'm currently enrolled in KDP for the first book in my series and have given it away for free a few times, only for 2 day periods. The first time, I gave away more than 6000 copies. The second time, closer to 500, which is a huge drop.

When I publish the second book, I was considering making the first book permanently free. I think it's the best way to gain exposure. I'm not selling many copies at all, so I don't think it's a loss. I think if anything, it will encourage more people to purchase book 2.


message 7: by Joe (new)

Joe Pfeiler | 3 comments I'd like to know if anyone has ever offered an ebook as a gift with the purchase of another ebook? Kind of a way of attracting sales...?


message 8: by Lila (new)

Lila Veen (lilaveen) | 8 comments That would be stellar - kind of like the infomercial marketing strategy...act now and receive a second one absolutely free!


message 9: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) Yes, I'm not hugely experienced, but I don't see a point in free until you have a second book for people to snap up. The idea is to hook them with the 1st? But if there's a wait they'll forget.

I've made my 1st in a series permanently free. One observation I've noticed, with mine and others: people will read your free who wouldn't have read the paid book. That is, they'll try a free but aren't so interested in the subject or suited to the book that they'd have paid. This leads to a lower average of people who like it. Fair enough and makes sense. --I can particularly notice this because I had a 550-pager, which I then also issued as two books in order to offer the first free. So they are out simultaneously and do attract a different readership.


message 10: by Lincoln (last edited Jun 12, 2013 03:24PM) (new)

Lincoln (lincolnpark) | 1 comments I am working on my fifth novel, right now. I have used the second novel as a loss-leader and you can read the entire novel, for free, on Scribd. In addition, I have always published at least one; if not two chapter excerpts from all of my available books for free reading. I have participated in the Goodreads Book Giveaway program and I think I'll do it again.


As far as simply letting free downloads of my most recent work out though, no. I feel that it devalues my work. I mean -- Why is it okay for Louboutin to charge $FIVE HUNDRED dollars for a shoe with two flimsy straps; or an artist to charge $50 THOUSAND for oil on canvas -- but if a writer DARE seek compensation for their work they are commercial sell-outs? A rapper can curse for 30 minutes on an album and charge $12.99; in which case I think it fair to ask at least $2.99 - $3.99 for someone to download something I took two years to write over sleepless nights of reckless imagination, countless cups of coffee, Google searches and editorial revisions... no?




message 11: by Sadie (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 6 comments LiNCOLN wrote: "As far as simply letting free downloads of my most recent work out though, no. I feel that it devalues my work. I mean -- Why is it okay for Louboutin to charge $FIVE HUNDRED dollars for a shoe with two flimsy straps; or an artist to charge $50 THOUSAND for oil on canvas -- but if a writer DARE seek compensation for their work they are commercial sell-outs? A rapper can curse for 30 minutes on an album and charge $12.99; in which case I think it fair to ask at least $2.99 - $3.99 for someone to download something I took two years to write over sleepless nights of reckless imagination, countless cups of coffee, Google searches and editorial revisions... no?"

It's kind of apple and oranges though isn't it. When you're as famous as Louboutin or a $50,000 artist or rapper you can undoubtedly demand and receive appropriate payment for your writing. The difference is that if your not well known yet (just like any struggling band or new artist or brand) you can only make the demand. There isn't a lot of likelihood readers will choose to comply. I completely hear what your saying and even agree. But in the beginning there has to be a way enticing readers to sample your work (a free book perhaps) and that's what we're talking about here.
Authors who have already established their following don't often offer freebies. I've noticed the heavy hitters don't even often enable lending. It makes little sense though to treat a new author's book the same as one of the big leaguers. It certainly doesn't seem like a marketing plan that will meet with much success.


message 12: by Lila (new)

Lila Veen (lilaveen) | 8 comments Sadie, I concur. The point of offering your book for free is to attempt to widen your audience, and many authors have done this with great success. It's obviously a choice, but one I'm willing to make in an attempt to get my work out there.


message 13: by Lou (new)

Lou Harper | 43 comments Free books need to be targeted or the whole thing is pointless. You should put a blurb and buy link to the end of the book. It's very easy to upload a new version of your book to Amazon, so there's no excuse not to do it.

It's like the candy bars at checkout lines. You need to harness the urge to impulse buy.


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