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Thread: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)


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Permlink Replies: 26 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Jul 2, 2012 1:29 PM Last Post By: fresiegrant
daysoldier

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Registered: 04/03/12
Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 10:39 AM
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I would like to see us come up with ways to use the freebie promos - as they are now - in ways that still benefit authors while minimizing the potential damage they may or may not do.

I think it's possible to use the promos without harming your own sales or those of other indies. We're smart people. We can come up with ways that would be beneficial to new people without them necessarily having to give away 2000 copies of their full length novels.

For example, I think one use is to take a day or so and write a good short story (or a small collection). Edit them well, then put a small excerpt of your novel on the last page, then upload it to KDP. Price it cheap.

In the blurb specify that this is your attempt - as an author - to give readers a chance to experience your writing with little or no risk.

Then use your promo and give the short story away.

This way, you're using a good-faith effort to reach customers without getting your novel lost in an ocean of other freebies on a customer's kindle.

So, let's save the debate about freebies for the other threads, and in the spirit of compromise, let me ask you...

Can you think of any ways to use free promos that would still be beneficial to authors while at the same time minimizing any possible negative side-effects?

If this thread is pointless and naive, feel free to let it fade into oblivion.
thetimucuan

Posts: 5,125
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Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 10:55 AM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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Has Amazon asked us? Until they do, what is the point in arguing about freebies either way? If Amazon thinks it helps their bottom line, freebies are here to stay. If they think it hurts their bottom line, freebies will be history. Amazon has not put the question up for us writers to vote on it.
daysoldier

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Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:26 PM   in response to: thetimucuan in response to: thetimucuan
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Oh, I agree entirely. Despite the fact that I keep debating it in the other thread, I agree it's a pointless discussion really.

This thread was just to to accept that it's here - like it or not - and try and think of some ways people can use it that might be less... I dunno... controversial.
villagoise

Posts: 1,137
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Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:42 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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daysoldier, you may well have a good idea going on there.

I'm anti freebie, and no way would I undervalue myself by giving away a 95,00 word novel. But giving away one short story that has taken not many hours to write could be a way to find customers who like your writing style enough to actually pay for something else you've written.

Hey, it would cost nothing but a bit of time, and it's a way of advertising yourself.
thetimucuan

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Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:47 PM   in response to: villagoise in response to: villagoise
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Yes, it's a good idea, and so is allowing people to have ONE three-day freebie promo for each new book, and that's it. This would at least limit the damage of stuffing readers' Kindles with freebies and making it less likely they will ever buy another book when they can just get more free. Limiting it to 1,000 freebies per book would also help to limit the damage.

This is all pointless, though, because Amazon is not listening to us anyway.
fresiegrant

Posts: 169
Registered: 12/19/11
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:54 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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For example, I think one use is to take a day or so
and write a good short story (or a small collection).
Edit them well, then put a small excerpt of your
novel on the last page, then upload it to KDP. Price
it cheap.

In the blurb specify that this is your attempt - as
an author - to give readers a chance to experience
your writing with little or no risk.

Then use your promo and give the short story away.


I too had thought it was a good idea until I came across a book by a Kindle author who had done just that. All he received in return was a furious review from a very unhappy customer who complained that the author was a cheat who tried to manipulate his readers into buying the full novel. I know it's über unfair but that's customers' logic for you :)
daysoldier

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Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:56 PM   in response to: fresiegrant in response to: fresiegrant
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I too had thought it was a good idea until I came
across a book by a Kindle author who had done just
that. All he received in return was a furious review
from a very unhappy customer who complained that the
author was a cheat who tried to manipulate his
readers into buying the full novel. I know it's über
unfair but that's customers' logic for you :)

Wow. That's a little depressing.

bethqbrown

Posts: 179
Registered: 05/09/12
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:09 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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You want to draw the right people to your writing and that shoukd happen if the writing is good enough; it should sell itself, I agree that an attempt to sneak in an excerpt of novel is underhanded; we are artists selling our art not used cars. I think you as an author have to decide what is best for you. I do not want freebie people just downloading my work juat because it's free. I believe most readers look inside to get an idea of style etc and then decide.
booknookbiz

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Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:15 PM   in response to: fresiegrant in response to: fresiegrant
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@fresiegrant:

Did that author blurb it? Did he produce a separate short story, with an excerpt from his novel--or did he, as some authors have tried--use an excerpt from his novel ONLY as the 'short story?' I've seen livid reviews from people who've been angry that an author 'tricked them' by using a chapter from their "real" book as a "shortie." I think that those readers--who HAVE been tricked--are right in their anger, unless that chapter can stand alone (which is rarely true).

However, I have a good-sized number of authors who do put up shorties, with excerpts from their novels, or even upcoming novels that are not yet published (in print or...), and they are doing very well with this, particularly by putting them up at $0.99 and/or using a few free days, for the shortie only, during the KDP Select period.

If the Kindle author that you say was attacked a) WAS clear in his blurb, and b) DID have an entire, stand-alone story in his giveaway, then it's unfortunate that he received the review he did. Were I he, I'd do several things--I'd reply to the reviewer, and say something liike "Gosh, I'm sorry that you didn't like my standalone shortie, and I'll make my blurb clearer so that other folks aren't confused," or something alone those lines. Replying to a negative review with a positive spin usually works. There are always going to be dumb readers, or readers who don't read the blurbs--so another method would be to be CLEAR in the TOC, which shows up in the LI, that it's a short story with a blurb from an upcoming or already-published novel.

To the OP (Original Poster): I wouldn't let this one review experience dissuade you from the idea. I think it works, and it solves some of the "give away my hard work" issue while at the same time promoting your bigger books.

HTH,

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martitalbott

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Registered: 07/29/10
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:22 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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I've been thinking of doing just that. All I have to do now is come up with a good short story that will lead into my series. Hummm, should I do that or finish the book I am writing. Hummm, decisions, decisions.
shaddamax

Posts: 1,722
Registered: 08/09/11
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:23 PM   in response to: bethqbrown in response to: bethqbrown
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Trad publishers put excerpts of novels into books all the time and now they are starting to give away excerpts free - so I don't see how that is cheating. Nevada Barr is selling short stories for 99 cents
sued2

Posts: 896
Registered: 06/15/12
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:29 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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I am totally anti-freebie. It's not giving the author a new reader, just a file on a hoarder's Kindle.

If you went to a brick bookstore and was perusing around and picked up a book that was written by an author you never heard of, do they have a policy there that you can walk out the store with it because you don't know the author's writing?

Seriously.

But, what you might do is flip through the book. Read a few paragraphs. Look at the table of contents. Etc.

I have, from the beginning, LOVED the idea of Kindle's sample option. I've purchased MANY books from reading and liking the sample. I've also deleted many books after reading a page of the sample because the writing was atrocious. The sample and the Author's page are powerful tools. Not everybody takes advantage of it.

It seems to me, from reading hours of ranting and viciousness on the Kindle discussion forum that the concept of the freebie was driven by THE MOST insecure of writers. And at the beginning, most times that I did download those freebies to look-see what they had offered, it was drivel...so bad that the first page alone was unreadable. These were writers who would apologetically offer their books for free AFTER manipulating the system by circumnavigating through Amazon's restriction of nothing lower than $.99 by going through SW, which I think was the catalyst for us now having to eat it.

Sorry, but I don't think freebie hoarders are a healthy monster to keep feeding.

I do heartily believe in the sample. I have deleted many book samples that were clogged with pages of dedications to everybody under the sun, including their precious pets and dead relatives. Leaving barely a page of actual story to read. By then I would be so ticked off by it that I would delete due to my own annoyance with it.

I do believe that by the time you upload the book it should be perfect. To have to make repairs and apologies is a kiss of death to the book AND the author. Take pride in the work and don't be so anxious to upload in a tizzy of egotistical pride until you are certain there is something there to be genuinely proud about.

Having a 3 day freebie frenzy could result in thousands of books gobbled up. Then nothing. That freebie makes a mess of things, I think.

There are professional reviewers who won't even bother to read the book if they have to buy it. Give them the free book. Something MIGHT actually come of it.

It's not a bad idea to offer the free short story with even a chapter of the new story at the end of it. But I think Patterson offered a part of a book once and called it "free" and when people discovered it was only part of the book they FREAKED! Free to them better be free, the whole book too.

I'd rather go with the sample concept. And a fair price. Just remember, if you offer a book at a low price...free being the lowest...then raise it...oh dear. You suddenly become labeled "greedy".

shrugs

I have one book that is so enormous that I will break it up into several volumes. I have been working on it for well over a decade. There is no way that I plan on giving it away for free. But I have no qualms offering each volume at a very low but entirely fair price.
writeranne

Posts: 540
Registered: 05/09/12
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:14 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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day,

I like the way you think. I have been very out-spoken against the freebies. I know Amazon will let them ride as long as it benefits them, but I always hope to reach the newbies when I write about them and try to explain the damage. My theory was that if we could reach enough writers and get them to stop using the freebies, maybe Amazon would eventually end them.

But your idea is genius. Using the free days as you suggests makes the free days work FOR us, not against us and becomes an advertising tool for us without giving away entire books for free.

If we present it as an "introduction" to our books with a good "teaser" and even a sample chapter included, that should be more than enough to interest a potential reader and that's all they need to be getting for free. If they want more...they can buy the book!
joeveramu

Posts: 444
Registered: 01/21/11
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:20 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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Since Amazon is not going to get rid of kdp select any time soon, your thread is a pertinent one. (Amazon's priority is its profit margin, not indies!)

I have experimented with stories just as you suggested although the idea of excerpts from novels is also a good one.

Rather than a day or so to write the short story I would suggest that the indie takes as long as possible to write and rewrite and then circulate in a writer's group before uploading on kdp select.
.
From all the responses in other threads on freebies, my query is; "why can't indies enrol their books and not offer them for free?" In other words, go for the kdp select for its BORROWS.

Joseph
http://josephveramu.blogspot.com/

thetimucuan

Posts: 5,125
Registered: 09/14/10
Re: Instead of arguing about the value or harm of freebies (which is pointless)
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:24 PM   in response to: joeveramu in response to: joeveramu
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"why can't indies enrol their books and not offer them for free?" In other words, go for the kdp select for its BORROWS."

They do. I would bet most never use the freebies.
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