The Philosophy of Free and Cheap

26 Aug

free books I don’t like giving books away. For a long time, I said I wouldn’t do it, ever. Not even ebooks. But I’ve modified my thinking on that somewhat. If you take a look at Findley Family Video Publications offerings you will see more than 45 titles. You might say, “Wow, you have published a lot of books!” And if you follow the links to certain books, you will see that they are free. But you will also see that they are samples — usually just the first three chapters or so. A couple are the first in a series. Along with these, anyone who downloads will get links to our main blog, Elk Jerky for the Soul, and that has links to all our books. It seems to be a good marketing idea.

There’s another marketing idea many people promote. That’s the KDP select plan. You publish an ebook exclusively with Amazon for 90 days. During that time, you can offer the book free for five of those days. There are still many sites that have many followers where you can announce that free-ness. The plan is simple. Many who have done this say you WILL get (They don’t say might get) 20K+ people scarfing up your book for free, and easily get a hundred reviews posted on Amazon for your book. Honestly, people who use this plan insist these are undeniable facts. You WILL give away tens of thousands of books. You WILL get scores of reviews out of it. Yeah, well, not so much. I tried this with my book A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist. Granted, Steampunk Literary Tribute is not a well-known genre. Also, I didn’t have the stunning cover I have now. But I did post and tweet and inform people like crazy during the free days for the plain and illustrated versions. Altogether I got around 1500 downloads, not 15,000.

As of now I have fewer than 15 reviews, and that was after giving away another 100 copies to a review group on Library Thing. You need reviews to be able to promote your book on certain sites. Some require as few as 10, and that they be average 4 or 5 stars. It annoys me that they want to reward success rather than encourage achievement, but that’s the way it goes. So I’m not sure I will ever have a free promotion again. I do offer free copies from time to time to people who say they will review, but I don’t get many reviews even from those people. And some of our free samples, one in particular, has gotten a bunch of bad reviews because it’s a sample. Some have also said it doesn’t flow, seems disorganized, doesn’t make them want to continue with the full story. Many people have gotten “troll” reviews on free books that sink their rankings.

I do have one other marketing ploy to try. It’s the 99 cent reduction. I now have 3 books, Historical Romance types, that are on sale for 99 cents. I have never tried reducing the price on these books, one of which has already been in the Amazon top 100 bestsellers ranking several times at its original price. So we’ll see if any of them get a nudge in the rankings or the reviews from this experiment. This is my “Ad” for this sale, such as it is.

3 romance sale

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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in publishing


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