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Thread: Do not give your book away free! EVER


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Permlink Replies: 116 - Pages: 8 [ Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ] - Last Post: Dec 30, 2017 1:07 PM Last Post By: Miles A Burks
Terry Frost

Posts: 17
Registered: 04/16/15
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 5, 2016 7:41 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I agree 100% with detectingfun and here is why. I will never offer my books for free because why would I? As I'm sure we all want to be the next James Patterson, Stephen King, etc. but that is very unlikely, possible but unlikely. So why do we write? Is it for money, for pride, acceptance, or just love doing it and if we are successful then great. I know one thing for sure this author doesn't do it to give all my time and effort away for free. As in the story Field of Dreams "If you write it, they will come", well that's not exactly how the line went but it can happen, but you will never know unless you put it out there.

I published my first novel back in 2011 and enrolled it in KDP Select and since then have written a sequel to that first one and a new project which is at present a four book series and at the request of my readers will probably be as many as eight total. They don't want me to end the series which is fine with me as long as the readership continues to grow as it has over the last two years. I priced my books at 3.99 and have kept that price over the last 5 going on 6 years. I'm retired and write as often as I can because even retired there are times life interferes with the my writing time.

I don't know if you would say that I'm a successful author but with royalties of 5K a month it sure comes close to beating anything else I did working for someone else except for when I owned my own business for 19 years.

In closing let me say it is obvious that with the royalties I just mentioned that you must write something sellable, key word 'sellable'. Its my opinion that all aspiring authors want to be successful but the plain truth is there work doesn't sell and probably won't ever sell. You either have it or you don't and if you don't at present or in the past don't give up if you can afford to keep trying. Bottom line here is I didn't have a clue if my books would sell or not just like most of you but I'll be damned if I'm going to give it away for free and as far as the KU program if you have written a great book the readers will find it and when they do you will love the Kindle Unlimited program. I know I do.

The only problem I have with Amazon is their marketing, its dreadful to say the least, but from all the posts I've read about trying Smashwords, D2D, etc. I'm staying with Amazon. Yes I know that going to other platforms could increase my chances at getting new readers but none of them have the client base Amazon does. So unless they change their ways and start causing my sales to just bottom out I'm sticking with them. I hope this post helps.
Aaron James Fra...

Posts: 791
Registered: 03/13/15
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 9, 2016 1:45 AM   in response to: Reba in response to: Reba
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Reba wrote:
Amazon never offered to market for you.

Actually, there are ways in which Amazon DOES market for us (best-sellers list, suggestions below, adverts, emails, etc).
mixus

Posts: 1,268
Registered: 06/19/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 9, 2016 8:14 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Surely, whether an author gives away their book title/s for free or not should be an individual choice?

Free giveaways can be very beneficial to new authors for their first book. As giving a book away can and does "get your book out there".

The short duration that KDP Select offers is no where near enough time for free give-aways. A new author should realistically be looking at a time span of a month (minimum) for their initial give-away period.

If the book is good, Word-of-mouth should kick in within a month. The book should be self sustainable after a good extended give-away period. But, thats only if the book is good. With a good story or information if its non-fiction

Regards and the very best of wishes,

Bruce Alpine - https://brucealpine.com
Ned Kelly

Posts: 1,142
Registered: 09/05/15
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 12, 2016 2:28 PM   in response to: Reba in response to: Reba
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Reba wrote:
mixus wrote:
Surely, whether an author gives away their book title/s for free or not should be an individual choice?

Free giveaways can be very beneficial to new authors for their first book. As giving a book away can and does "get your book out there".

The short duration that KDP Select offers is no where near enough time for free give-aways. A new author should realistically be looking at a time span of a month (minimum) for their initial give-away period.

If the book is good, Word-of-mouth should kick in within a month. The book should be self sustainable after a good extended give-away period. But, thats only if the book is good. With a good story or information if its non-fiction

Regards and the very best of wishes,

Bruce Alpine - https://brucealpine.com

Exactly what I have been saying all along. These posts demanding that no one give their book away are usually made by people who are convinced their own book isn't selling because of all the free ones on offer. That is absolute rubbish. If I don't offer any of my genre for free, how is that going to sell his genre, which is completely different? As you say, giving a first book away free for a few days gets your work read and if it is any good will attract new readers willing to pay.

It is the same with select. Those who couldn't make it work for them declare it to be some kind of con and simply refuse to believe that others do very well out of it. I just wish people would leave others to decide for themselves and stop scoffing and turning their nose up because they couldn't find the same success.

I agree. I'm giving away a book this Sat and Sunday - it's always been for me a useful promotion tool, with spikes in sales a few days later. My books include a back section promoting all my other books, including a chapter or two, reviews and links to the Amazon store. I also use several short stories as promos - each with the same "preview" section in the back. These also act as promo items and work well, I'm surprised that more indies don't use this method. For me it's gained several rather lucrative contracts.

Cheers

Ned.

hlest

Posts: 1,180
Registered: 04/04/11
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 14, 2016 9:25 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Every time I give a book away free I make tons more sales. Interestingly, a book I made free a month ago is now selling like hot cakes. Go figure.

Hils
maineauthor

Posts: 676
Registered: 07/14/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 22, 2016 8:10 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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A blanket statement like "Don't ever give away free books" isn't useful. There are too many variables to say, with any authority, what will or won't work for another author. My experience (and this is only my experience, your mileage will vary) is that in the year or so since I set the first book in my six-book series to perma-free, I've gone from about $900-1200 a month to just under $6000 a month in income. With all other variables the same (I haven't advertised or released any new books during this time period), I think I can safely say that setting that book to free was one of the more lucrative things I've ever done.

Would I recommend that everyone give away free books? Of course not. It works for some people, not so much for others. You have to experiment until you find what works for you.
stacy barnett

Posts: 70
Registered: 08/13/16
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Aug 25, 2016 1:07 AM   in response to: maineauthor in response to: maineauthor
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I have read quite a few of the posts on this site about what to do or not to do about free books. I started writing for the fun of it and if I am lucky to get paid for it all the better. I know I am only a beginner in this world of words but isn't writing a good form of expressing yourself to the world. I find as I watch the different graph reports go up and down the high light of my day, to the point I can't wait to tell my kids about it each time they move. So the giving away of your books may be good in some ways, as to getting yourself noticed by the world, but the on the flip side of the coin I find I stay away from free books because it makes me wonder what's wrong with it, for it to be free in the first place.
Jerold Sawdey

Posts: 6
Registered: 03/26/16
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Sep 9, 2016 1:37 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Excellent advice in this thread! I won't give away a book for free unless I feel there is some social benefit for it.
Vald

Posts: 1
Registered: 09/22/16
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 8, 2016 8:32 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Did anyone try to 'split' a book in two parts and offer just the first one for free? I have a book with about 40 chapters and could easily make it into two shorter books. This would be a good way to deal with the system the writers are forced into... Thoughts?
grandmaster

Posts: 838
Registered: 11/29/16
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 9, 2016 9:57 AM   in response to: Vald in response to: Vald
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Vald wrote:
Did anyone try to 'split' a book in two parts and offer just the first one for free? I have a book with about 40 chapters and could easily make it into two shorter books. This would be a good way to deal with the system the writers are forced into... Thoughts?

Well, readers don't like split up books. Number of chapters doesn't matter. Doesn't matter if "part one" is free. If you have a valid idea for a series, then learn how to write it and publish so that readers are getting a good experience, but don't think you can just split a book into parts and people will be okay with that. The reviews you get will be a harsh lesson.

What system are writers forced into? This isn't trad pub, it's self-publishing, and nobody is forced into anything.

My thoughts? You don't know what you're talking about, and haven't bothered to research anything. Yeah, yeah. Newbie. But I don't take that as an acceptable excuse to try to get one over on the reader, nor to research and learn the business you want to earn money from. It's not like the information isn't out there.
Ralph E Vaughan

Posts: 3,463
Registered: 12/01/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 10, 2016 5:37 AM   in response to: Vald in response to: Vald
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Vald wrote:
Did anyone try to 'split' a book in two parts and offer just the first one for free? I have a book with about 40 chapters and could easily make it into two shorter books. This would be a good way to deal with the system the writers are forced into... Thoughts?

I've seen it done with more frequency lately. Free or not, they're usually the books with a disproportionate number of scathing, bitter one-star reviews. Personally, if I get suckered into buying such a book, the author goes on my do-not-buy-ever-again list. If I invest my time in a book, I want an ending, not a lame to-be-continued. Of course, others might feel differently.
Miles A Burks

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/15/15
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Dec 30, 2017 1:07 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I know this post is old, but the subject matter is still relevant and will be relevant well into the future of the self-publish world. I know how antsy indi-authors get with their work. They have all the reasons to care about their books (because who else will). The biggest threat facing Indi-authors today is getting noticed and I've been around long enough to tell you that I've seen Indi-authors sit on their books like hen eggs, waiting for that breakout moment where there books will hit the stratosphere. You know, those authors who wait years and years for a traditional publisher contract, or those who send hundreds or even thousands of dollars on advertising a priced book only to Gardner less than a 100 sales. I know this because I went through that phase. I tried competing with the big boys and their books until I uncovered the truth. More than half of every popular book that you have ever heard of because a house-hold name because of one thing and one thing only. Exposure. Now these authors became so successful not because they could write or had creative imaginations. No. It was because their books were exposed to thousands of readers who shared their work with thousands of other readers. Now in this day in age in the indi author publishing realm, it is near-impossible for a noname, indi author with one book to his/her name to get the word out that there book is worth people's time. And the best way to get exposure in todays market of ebooks, is via free book giveaways.

While it sounds very counterintuitive, this practice of giving away books is not new. In fact, every traditional author even today HAS to do this by default when submitting their books to book bloggers and review outlets. With indi authors, we have to tool of using freebies to grab attention to our work. Now I know a zillion people would say "but no one reads a free book." This is an assumption. In truth, people WILLl read a free book, but its unlikely they'll FINISH a free book. You see what I'm saying here. It's not like people are allergic to free books and just download them because they are there. The public LOVES free books and those thousand of downloads show this to be true. Take me for example, I download free books that look INTERESTING not just because they are free or because of review count. I read about 30 to 40% into the book before tossing it aside. But before I forget about the book I always leave a review, detailing what I liked and wish the author the best of luck. On every free book I have download (well over a hundred) I leave an honest review.

But keep this in mind. When you leave your book free and you see those 10,000 downloads rolling in. Don't assume you're work at marketing is over and all is good. You see, the free book feature on amazon is there only as a marketing tool. Out of those 10,000 downloads, you'll most likely hear back from less than 20 reviewers. For your book to get well over a 100+ reviews, your book either be horrendously edited (as is about 70% of every free book) or actually great.

Best to luck on whomever reads this post. The freebook argument is 50/50 but its up to you to use it wisely. Do research and view both sides of the argument. And remember this: there is more than one way to success.
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