Indie Authors Monthly Magazine For Authors and Readers discussion

The Great Free Book Debate

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message 1: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 266 comments This might be of interest to some - I am running a couple of articles about the merits (or not) of free books. I have interviewed some authors and readers whose views vary and it is a really interesting article. The first, linked here is from the readers' perspective.

message 2: by L.G. (new)

L.G. Estrella | 23 comments Thank you for posting this. I've been considering this topic for quite some time now, and it's great to have the perspective of a few other people. I will admit upfront that I have a vested interest: I'm a self-published author.

I've found from my own experience that giving away the first part of a series does, in general, help people make a decision about picking up the rest of the series. I've had readers comment that they wouldn't have picked up the later parts of a series if the first part hadn't been given away free. If a series has 3+ parts, then giving away the first part seems like a reasonable risk to take to get people to pick up the rest.

I'm looking forward to the next part.

message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Brenner (amandabrenner) I hope the "first free" thingy works for me. I can't bring myself to make it a complete freebie, but the first novel in my detective series will be in the Countdown program the week before Christmas, so for the first time it will be at least discounted for most of that time.

message 4: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 41 comments There is that - if everything is free you can certainly give up those $ sign dreams. I agree though that if you write series, and if you are 3+ books through them (both big ifs) giving away the first can work as a loss leader.

message 5: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 169 comments $ sign dreams? What's that? All I want is for people to read and enjoy my book. ;)

message 6: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 41 comments GG - If an author genuinely doesn't care about making any money at all then they definately should publish their work for free. I have a mix of free and not free stuff out there and from that experience can say that "free" gets at 100 times as many readers as any priced work, no matter how low that price is.

message 7: by Valeria (new)

Valeria (vale_ck) Personally, as a reader, I think free books could be a good idea to put your name out there. It is hard to get people read your book if they don't know you. Of course it is always a risk. But from my experience I have found that if the book is good you will get the response you are looking for. I've feel in love with a couple of authors I would have never known if it hadn't been for that first free book. I'm always on the lookout and have not been disappointed. And afterwards I have been happy to buy the next of their books in a series I've loved. Of course this works best when the free book is part of a series, because you get the reader hooked, but sometimes if a single book is great! I will definitely look out for some other books, series or not, from the author.

message 8: by L.G. (new)

L.G. Estrella | 23 comments The biggest hurdle I've found (and heard from others) is getting people "in the door". A free book is like a free drink at a bar. You want to get people in and then have them stay to check out your other books (i.e., buy more stuff at the bar).

Obviously, there are pros and cons to each approach. However, it's a lot easier to sell a book to someone if they've already enjoyed one of your books. It's a lot harder if they've never read anything you've done before.

message 9: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 266 comments It certainly works for some readers and some authors. For myself (as a reader) I do download and read free books and go on to buy further work if I like it. I usually can't remember if it was free or not by the time I get to it anyway, lol.

As an author I have work in a couple of free anthologies - it is good writing experience, a good way to meet other authors and, yes of course, it is a good way to get your name out there.

It is true there is a load of tosh in the free pile but there are also lots of great books, and the same is true of non-free SPA and trad pubbed.

message 10: by Neely (new)

Neely Powell (goodreadscomneelypowell) Drawing net rest to your books is always the goal. Free often works very well for that.

message 11: by Jim (last edited Dec 19, 2013 04:42PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic A giveaway is just one of many useful tools available to promote a book; if it is conducted professionally and limited to a targeted audience.

More often than not, the most prudent course of action is to refer all requests to the publicist or marketing representative assigned by the publisher to promote your book since such activity falls within their field of expertise.

message 12: by Lisa (last edited Dec 18, 2013 09:02AM) (new)

Lisa Marie Gabriel (lisamariegabriel) | 48 comments I ran a couple of free ebook promotions on Amazon, but they didn't work for me either in terms of sales or reviews which was truly disappointing. I know they work for some, but I get the feeling you have to have a lot of books in your portfolio and a lot of established contacts. When I released my novel I had a lot more sales in the first three weeks than I had expected, but then Thanksgiving week hit and sales are seriously slow. We will have to hope they pick up soon. It is not that I don't do freebies, I am quite happy to run Goodreads promos and see how that goes, but a general giveaway just hasn't worked out for me. Like many going down the self-publishing route I don't have a lot of advertising or marketing expertise. I believe my writing would hold its own against somebody traditionally published but I am too old and tired to chase agents and slush piles when I can do all the creative side myself.

If anyone is interested I currently have two giveaways on, one for poetry and one for a novel.

message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Marie Gabriel (lisamariegabriel) | 48 comments Oh, and I think that the Amazon Prime borrow is a wonderful thing. If I can put my books in Prime, I do because people CAN read them for nothing and try before they buy. If they are worth reading a second time I might make that sale and I do get paid for the borrow. I wish that could be rolled out on all ebooks for limited periods instead of all the "permafree" stuff. Since I got my Kindle I have downloaded quite a few books and found about 30% in the "romance" genre were seriously wanting!

message 14: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 266 comments The borrows are offered to anyone with Amazon Prime and if the book is in Select. I have to say I probably wouldn't use it if I had it.

message 15: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 266 comments Here is the second article

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