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Thread: Do not give your book away free! EVER


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Permlink Replies: 115 - Pages: 8 [ Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | Next ] - Last Post: Dec 10, 2016 5:37 AM Last Post By: Ralph E Vaughan
stephen shaw

Posts: 63
Registered: 03/17/13
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 7, 2015 12:24 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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I asked Amazon to allow Kindle giveaways on Goodreads, to achieve readership with large numbers, and to avoid restrictive international postal rates. Does anyone else in KDP's community want to join me in this effort?
kimbershooter

Posts: 32
Registered: 11/30/11
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 12, 2015 6:47 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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I think the fewest books I've ever had downloaded in a 5 day free promotion was 2500. I don't know if they help my sales or not, but when I come out with the next book in a series, I always run a 5 day free promotion of the first book to generate interest in the series.
Micah David Moten

Posts: 22
Registered: 10/15/15
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 10, 2015 4:21 PM   in response to: trexinator1 in response to: trexinator1
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Sorry Trexinator1 for the long reply back to your statement on trying to rationalize apples from oranges but in the end they're still fruit! Basically a fruit is still a fruit of labor that starts out as a seed and blossoms to something wonderful so putting your book out their temporarily is like the seeds that's planted. Okay back to reality. Books in the end are simply products that need as much publicity as possible no different then any other product. You say free, and people say who, where, when, when, and how many they're giving away for free. It's sort of the same thing. Look nobody's got a gun to your head. I respect the fact that you value your book enough not to just give it away because it represent your creativeness work of art and should be taken as such. You know the rule of conflict is all about conflict of interest right. Well I agree and disagree because that's my choice. I see your prospective but that doesn't mean that good Authors out there books are bad because they have free promotions. Think about that for a minute and let it sink in. In the end those theories have already been put to the test. Feel free to give me another impute on you analogy on this matter.
Notjohn

Posts: 22,960
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 10, 2015 6:03 PM   in response to: kimbershooter in response to: kimbershooter
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I think the fewest books I've ever had downloaded in a 5 day free promotion was 2500. I don't know if they help my sales or not, but when I come out with the next book in a series, I always run a 5 day free promotion of the first book to generate interest in the series.

That's an intelligent use of freebies. (Note that Kim is not giving away the new book!). Alas, most uses of the "promotional" tool are mindless, and all they accomplish is to guarantee that a dozen or a hundred or (rarely!) a thousand potential buyers will never buy the book, because they read it for free.

If you do indeed have 2500 downloads, that's amazing. The first time I tried this (a long time ago, to be sure, probably 2012) I did get a few thousand downloads. The second time, it was a few hundred. Now, to judge by the posts here, a few dozen is more likely.

And nothing gained!

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Any Other Retailer)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Notjohn

Posts: 22,960
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 10, 2015 6:04 PM   in response to: Micah David Moten in response to: Micah David Moten
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You might want to read "The Tragedy of the Common."

Good luck! -- NJ

The book: Notjohn's Guide to Kindle Publishing: Ten Steps to Formatting Your E-book for Sale on Amazon (Or Any Other Retailer)

The blog: Notjohn's KDP Guide
Vanessa Kittle

Posts: 1
Registered: 05/23/14
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 12, 2015 5:40 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Well, I've done these promotions for 18 months now. Last year I would get about 1000 downloads in a day followed by a week of decent sales before returning to normal.

Now most of the sites have free publicity for the promotions only select a couple books out of hundreds for the day unless you pay. So I'm getting more like 300 downloads for an average free day. The sales that follow are also reduced and only last about 2 days.

However, the one and only thing that has ever caused random strangers to buy my ebooks has been these Amazon free days. The only actual sales are generated from being put on the "these people also bought this" selection of real books, which occurs when you have lots of free downloads the day before. I've had over 100,000 downloads and thousands of sales in the last year and a half. It's not much, sure, but it's more than I ever thought I would sell. Plus a lot of people have read the books, which is neat. I'm not much of a capitalist anyway.
mark gaboury

Posts: 12
Registered: 11/27/13
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 21, 2015 3:57 PM   in response to: bioanswers in response to: bioanswers
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If those who collect free books are like me, they collect them but never read them. I collected so many that I read almost none, and ended up reading books on my shelves instead.
Mrs S Henry

Posts: 18
Registered: 09/24/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 30, 2015 4:51 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I wholeheartdely agree. I did this on publication of my first book (series now into 7th volume), What an innocent I was. I had three figures worth of 'free sales' and no sales for months afterwards.

My books are very niche market and actually do sell, albeit it in dribs and drabs. Never be discouraged though, I find it a pleasure to write and then publish even though I know only a handful will appreciate them.

There is absolutely no reason to give your books away. Do your homework and keep up the marketing is my humble advice.
Natalie Garner

Posts: 872
Registered: 12/11/14
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 30, 2015 5:16 AM   in response to: Mrs S Henry in response to: Mrs S Henry
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Mrs S Henry wrote:
There is absolutely no reason to give your books away. Do your homework and keep up the marketing is my humble advice.

If you had done YOUR homework you would have learnt that giving away the first book in a series is an established and successful sales strategy. Giving away a book when you only have one is not. To say there is no reason to give your books away is just idiotic.
mixus

Posts: 1,268
Registered: 06/19/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 30, 2015 12:55 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Free has its time and place. i.e., free for the first book in a series is a real good marketing ploy, as it really does generate sales for the other books in a series.

Once or twice in a books lifetime or perma-free are best for books. Continually offering it for free can be destructive to its image as perspective buyers will only wait until the next time it is offered for free or they will look at it as a cheap product from a desperate author and will steer clear from it.

Under certain conditions free can be extremely beneficial to a book and its author. Under certain conditions, offering them for free can also destroy a book and its author..

Bruce Alpine - http://brucealpine.com
harleysachs

Posts: 19
Registered: 01/24/11
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Jan 11, 2016 7:51 AM   in response to: whydoineedanick in response to: whydoineedanick
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Giving a book away for a few days is what the mall businesses call a loss leader. Its purpose is to get you into the store. On advice of my daughgter who worked for Coffee House Press, I include with every one of my currently 36 live rtitles an appendix with the catalog of all my available books plus a teaser sample chapter of a similar book tfo the one being given away (or sold). Of course, books given away are not necessarily read. Some people just collect stuff like those who go to a trade fair and fill their goody bags with brochures they never read. Statistically, many readers do not finish reading a book Only 72% of people who bought the shades of grey best seller finished reading it. A Hillary Clinton book might be read only by 40% of the buyers. Monika Lewinsky's book gets read only for the sex scenes..
The 5rr50 Amazon subscription deal is hurting actual sales of books, for by paying authors only on a pages read basis, we lose out. If someone buys a book we get the royalty whether they finish the book or not. If they can browse a few pages and drop it, the royalty is much less. They can always read a free sample, but that's intended to induce a purchase. Since the $50 subscription went into effect my actual sales have dropped.
acornwriter

Posts: 1,956
Registered: 07/21/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Jan 11, 2016 1:08 PM   in response to: harleysachs in response to: harleysachs
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Since the $50 subscription went into effect my actual sales have dropped.

Yes, and that's a serious concern.

If someone buys a book we get the royalty whether they finish the book or not. If they can browse a few pages and drop it, the royalty is much less.

Yes, but I want folks to read my books, not just to buy them. Keeping an eye on the pages read, tells me which books are captivating or not. When they buy them, I can't tell if they liked them enough to finish them. Pages read is exciting when they finish it and I can see that they went on to buy another one. I'm in it for the emotion. The more I get... the more I crave.
April Retherford

Posts: 1
Registered: 01/17/16
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER (Why not? It's your book.)
Posted: Jan 17, 2016 3:04 AM   in response to: Vivian Genderna... in response to: Vivian Genderna...
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My parents were salespeople and successful business owners. These are the people who taught me how to view the world. Much of the family's dinner-table discussion every night of my entire childhood was about sales and marketing. I'm not a trained expert, but I am an untrained expert with years of experience in the family business and on my own.

I was always better at understanding marketing than I was person-to-person sales. That was a bad thing in the days before the internet was big enough to allow anyone, anywhere to engage in marketing. I was a kid with few resources who lived on a region where the marketing work I was best at was sparse because ALL media work was sparse. If you weren't working with a big, important company in the big city that made ads for national television, an aptitude for marketing was useless.

I only came into my own when the internet started to grow beyond cat pictures and personal domains. Now, I can sit here in the middle of no-where and market things to my heart's content, and leave the person-to-person selling to the salespeople on the floor.

Over the years, one of the things I have learned is that the asking price is part of the product buying experience. People buy based on how they imagine the purchase will make them feel, during and after. Will they feel fulfilled? Will this need or that need be met? Will their friends think they're cool / smart / interesting / rich? Will their wife be happy enough to have sex with them tonight? Will they learn something important that they didn't know before?

Seriously. Why do you buy a new car when a much less expensive, lightly used one would serve the same basic purpose? Obviously, the choice between a cheaper used car and a more expensive new car isn't that each choice represents a different rational purpose in space and time. The difference may be that the new car looks nicer, which is about emotion. It FEELS nicer, because you don't have to worry about it breaking down right away. Emotion, that's the difference between a new car and a used one, not function.

Asking a customer to pay tells the customer that your product HAS EMOTIONAL VALUE beyond the mere logical, rational, physical, matter-of-fact possession of whatever it is you're trying to convince them to possess. It suggests a mental image of a future version of themselves, pleased, satisfied, fulfilled, recommending your brilliant product to others (so the others will admire them for their wise recommendations), etc.

THAT is what they are buying when they buy your book, not your book. Silly. The library is full of free books. If they wanted ANY book, they could just go there and grab the first one they see.

If you can offer them an experience, you can sell your book. If what you want is sales, money, then screw giving it away for free. (Go ahead and give it away if you want to. It's your book, after all.)

My writing isn't even in competition with the "free" stuff, not because it's so stinkin' good, but because I offer my consumers a feeling for making a purchase they can't get from a free ride. I'm selling the experience of being pleased with my product, of being entertained, and of feeling intelligent for picking me over all the other choices. Buy THIS and you will be happy, entertained and it will serve as a confirmation of your intelligence and good taste.

People who buy books want to feel smart, by the way. That's a biggie. Also, they are often educated (not always) and have higher on average IQ's than many non-readers. Also, book readers tend to be ambitious people, especially if your readers are of working age. So, they get bored easily. They want you to tell them your book will give them something to do, learn, remember, think about, experience. Tell them that, then ask a fair price for the service, and you'll see sales.
Natalie Garner

Posts: 872
Registered: 12/11/14
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER (Why not? It's your book.)
Posted: Jan 17, 2016 3:41 AM   in response to: April Retherford in response to: April Retherford
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Since you have just started, perhaps you have not yet discovered how difficult it is to sell anything or to get any visibility amid the millions of other books on Amazon. In your 'listening at dinner' experience of selling, did you never hear of big companies giving away products to entice people to buy another? My Avon lady gave me a very expensive face cream at Christmas because it was my fiftieth order. I wouldn't have bought it then, because it was expensive, but having tried it I shall buy it in the future when this one runs out. She knew that; giving it away was a clever marketing strategy. Every driving school in England gives a free lesson for a paid one, buy one get one free, which is in all the grocer's shops as well. Nobody is going to pay for an unknown author with no following; if your work isn't good enough to entice them once they have sampled the free one, then yes it is a bad idea. Otherwise, it is the best way to gain a following. I took advantage of the select free promotion with my first novel, gave away 3000 copies, but I have been selling steadily ever since. It started me off, gave me some nice reviews which encouraged me and gave me a following.

Obviously dealers do not give away cars in order to sell more cars of the same make; that is a silly comparison. On the other hand, they do, at least in the UK, give away lots of other stuff with a new car. Often a year's free insurance, free road tax, even a tank of petrol, and they give ridiculously high part exchange prices on the worst kind of banger, which is probably only fit for the scrap yard.

I prefer a car that is at least a year old; that way I know it has been tested. New cars are far more likely to break down.
acornwriter

Posts: 1,956
Registered: 07/21/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER (Why not? It's your book.)
Posted: Jan 17, 2016 8:07 AM   in response to: April Retherford in response to: April Retherford
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What a wonderful post to wake up to. You answered a lot of questions I had floating around in my head. Thank you.
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