As an author I have had to sweat and toil to produce my books. Having put all of that effort in over several years it the idea of giving away free books is understandably abhorrent to many authors. Yet as a self published author the greatest difficulty is not even writing the book, getting it edited and published : its getting it noticed. I had read of a number of authors who had significant success in giving away the first book in a series. The theory here is that if you get enough readers to download your first book then many will return wanting more.
Currently I have the first book in three of my series available for free. I am monitoring results.
Do people download free book?
The answer is a definite yes. The following table reveals the free downloads of these books from August to November on 3 Channels:
Google e-books; Smashwords which includes Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Sony amongst others and finally Kindle.
|The Amber Treasure||Tomorrow’s Guardian||Shield Maiden||Total|
So this approach of giving away books for free is a good way to at least get folk downloading your books. This often results in the books shooting up the free charts on kindle:
Does it increase sales of sequels?
I am a self published author of 7 books which between them have sold approaching 1600 copies. So my monthly sales figures are not huge. However I have sen an increase in the sales of the sequels of The Amber Treasure and Tomorrow’s guardian in the last 2 months. The blue bars here is sales in the UK for Child of Loki the sequel to The Amber Treasure.
Giving a way e-books is very easy with Google E-books and Smashwords. In both cases you can directly control the price and set them to free. Apple in particular likes free books and have been known to do special promotions of free books. When you set prices free on Smashwords that controls the prices on Kobo. Sony, Apple and Barnes and Noble.
Now Kindle is different. Amazon will only allow you to set book at free if you enroll in Kindle Select and give Kindle exclusive rights to your book. That means you can’t sell the book via Google or Smash-words or anywhere else. In addition via Kindle select you can only have the book free for a limited time of a few days.
The trick to getting Kindle to set your books at Free is to set it free on all other platforms. Amazon does not like being more expensive than other alternatives and once they spot the book is free elsewhere they often set the book to free for extended periods of time.
There are a number of sites that will promote free books via social media so be sure to let them know so they can tell every one about your book.