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Thread: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!


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kennydill

Posts: 1,561
Registered: 02/14/12
Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 11:01 AM
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Westside Cowboy!!



Thanks for helping!!!



p.s. get yours today!
wisemanner

Posts: 162
Registered: 11/25/11
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 11:29 AM   in response to: kennydill in response to: kennydill
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Unfortunately, you can't stay alive on charts.
screenwriterjohn

Posts: 184
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Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 11:40 AM   in response to: kennydill in response to: kennydill
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If you need promotion, it is a great way. Readers need to know...that you exist.
kennydill

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Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 11:42 AM   in response to: wisemanner in response to: wisemanner
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It ain't free no more...

p.s. happy people eat less ; )
wisemanner

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Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 12:03 PM   in response to: kennydill in response to: kennydill
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How many were picked up? Whatever it was, you've lost than many potential royalties.
serenityvalley

Posts: 103
Registered: 01/10/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 12:10 PM   in response to: kennydill in response to: kennydill
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Thank you for posting this! It's good to actually see people on the board who see the big picture. I've seen so many arguments by people against giving work away for free that it has just gotten silly.

"Only nobody writers do it." Every writer started out as a nobody.

"The market will be saturated." Really? How many years have people been diving on the Star Wars franchise?

"Amazon is losing money through KDP Select." If you actually were enrolled in Select, you would get a neat little monthly email that speaks otherwise.

Oh, and my favorite. "Authors won't see success giving work away for free. Too many people are doing it." Please see above chart.
scribblr

Posts: 3,309
Registered: 05/08/08
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 12:40 PM   in response to: serenityvalley in response to: serenityvalley
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[i]Thank you for posting this! It's good to actually see people on the board who see the big picture. I've seen so many arguments by people against giving work away for free that it has just gotten silly.

"Only nobody writers do it." Every writer started out as a nobody.

"The market will be saturated." Really? How many years have people been diving on the Star Wars franchise?

"Amazon is losing money through KDP Select." If you actually were enrolled in Select, you would get a neat little monthly email that speaks otherwise.

Oh, and my favorite. "Authors won't see success giving work away for free. Too many people are doing it." Please see above chart.[/i]

Too bad YOU can't see the big picture. The above chart only proves that freebies aren't effective as a sales tool. Sure, the book may have reached # 477 on the free list, but where is it on the PAID kindle sales list now that the freebie promotion is over. I just went to look. It doesn't even have a sales rating, which usually means it hasn't 'sold' any copies recently. And when I say 'sold,' I'm talking about hard currency, not euphoric dreams of future wealth derived from distributing free books that glut the market and do nothing for the author. How do 'NO SALES' measure up in your favorite saying of 'Authors won't see success giving work away for free.'
michaelraytaylor

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Registered: 01/21/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 2:19 PM   in response to: scribblr in response to: scribblr
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scribblr, I'm not sure when Kenny's promo ended, but when you shoot up this high in the rankings from a promo, during the 24 hours after the book goes off, its paid rank is always very low, until the algorithm averages in the freebies (which count like 10 percent of a sale). This is because there were zero paid sales during the promo (gee, wonder why??). I don't know why it always takes at least a day for the freebies to count in paid sales rank, but after 24 hours, the paid sales rank usually shoots below 1,000 if you made the "top 100 free."

My highest paid sales rank in the six months my book has been out, in the top 300, appeared a couple days after I hit #2 on the "top 100 free" spot for all books. Obviously, if you don't have ongoing heavy sales after the promo, a big rank from a promo will start to slide, but during the days I stay in the top of the humor category as the result of a good promo like kenny's, many more people find and buy the book. The sales chart mimics the freebie ranking chart, pretty much every time, just with lower (but still meaningful) numbers that lag 2-3 days behind the freebie numbers.

Doesn't work for all genres, but when it does work it is a beautiful thing. Way to go, kenny.

(fixed a typo)


Message was edited by: michaelraytaylor

serenityvalley

Posts: 103
Registered: 01/10/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 2:36 PM   in response to: scribblr in response to: scribblr
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I make plenty of sales of the hard currency variety. My wife can vouch as she spends most of it. If there is some sort of "big picture" that those who oppose free books see...keep it. I like my "big picture" better. I give away plenty of work and still bank a monthly check that equals full-time pay and allows me to write for a living.

Everything I have heard against free book giveaways amounts to predictions. It's fiction. What I am stating is fact. If you are so willing to talk about fiction, write about it. Then publish it. It may help your stagnant sales.
scribblr

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Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 4:06 PM   in response to: serenityvalley in response to: serenityvalley
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[i]I make plenty of sales of the hard currency variety. My wife can vouch as she spends most of it. If there is some sort of "big picture" that those who oppose free books see...keep it. I like my "big picture" better. I give away plenty of work and still bank a monthly check that equals full-time pay and allows me to write for a living.

Everything I have heard against free book giveaways amounts to predictions. It's fiction. What I am stating is fact. If you are so willing to talk about fiction, write about it. Then publish it. It may help your stagnant sales.[/i]



Congratulations on being able to write full time. Most authors aspire to reach that milestone someday.

I've never given away a free book and my top sales rank in Kindle Paid Sales is 104. I've topped numerous sub-genre '100' lists plus the BestSellers List in Science Fiction (not a sub-genre under SciFi, the main genre list). My sales are hardly stagnant. Maybe if you weren't giving so many books away, you might sell more. Yes, I confess, I looked at your sales ranks after you became testy. Free books don't build a solid fan base. That's a fact, not fiction.
mayamiami

Posts: 313
Registered: 04/02/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 4:52 PM   in response to: kennydill in response to: kennydill
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Whenever I written out my furst book I given it a way fereee. Just to see if foks would actually read the dang thing

Foung out they read it alright. Got a few reviews.

Then, of course (after writing a few more) I just let them sell off by themslaves.

Sales are slow. Maybe one in a week, but good nuff for me.!

think it's time to head to bed thanx for reading:(

Message was edited by: mayamiami

daysoldier

Posts: 778
Registered: 04/03/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 5:03 PM   in response to: serenityvalley in response to: serenityvalley
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For the record, I don't begrudge anybody who uses freebies. Whatever works for you, do it.

But it's simply not accurate (IMO) to say the bump that comes from freebies is evidence that giving away an entire novel to thousands of random people is a good marketing technique.

The boost comes neither from the freebie nor from the customers downloading the freebie. The boost comes from Amazon, because Amazon has decided to give freebies a sales weight. Amazon is rewarding you for enrolling in Select by giving your book higher visibility. The actual freebies have nothing to do with it.

Why do I believe that?

Well, unless people are reading your entire novel on the first day they get it, then immediately going to Facebook and twitter and telling all their friends how great it is - without bothering to review the book on Amazon - neither the freebies nor the customers can account for the fact you have a boost the day (or week) after a promo. Many people wait weeks before they get to freebies they've downloaded.

It's because Amazon is essentially paying you to give your book away for free. They're paying in trade, by choosing to raise your book's ranking based on your willingness to give it away.

Which is cool. Like I said, whatever works for you is groovy with me.

But since the general consensus on these forums (which, admittedly is anecdotal) is that most bumps from freebies only last a few days... and since most people get very few reviews (if any) from freebies... it's perfectly logical to assume that the act of giving away free books does not really help sales, short or long term.

Having Amazon choose to consider freebies (at least partially) sales does, however, boost visibility, which helps sales.

Truly, that's all we know. Maybe giving away entire free books helps, maybe it doesn't. But to use this promo as evidence that one is fact and one is fiction simply isn't valid (IMO). The only fact we have is that increased visibility on Amazon helps sales, and that only happens because Amazon chooses to consider a freebie a sale, even though it is not.

Again, I have no beef with people doing freebies to boost sales, but I think it's fairly clear that it's because Amazon chooses to help you out in exchange for you choosing to give their customers free books.

Go anywhere besides Amazon and suggest that randomly giving away 2000 books - without any specifications at all on who you give them to - is a good marketing technique and they'll look at you like you're insane... because, frankly, it's terrible marketing. I don't know anybody who has ever compiled an email list of 1000 random people, then sent those random people copies of their books and expected it to boost sales. Marketing has to be directed. Customers have to be defined and targeted for freebies to work.

It works at Amazon because Amazon chooses to make it work.

Just my probably wrong opinion.
robethpublishin...

Posts: 2,789
Registered: 12/09/09
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 5:17 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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I also wonder, if after all these freebees, if some readers have a tendency to NOT purchase a book in Select - instead waiting for it to be free. Could that Select label actually detour some buyers, who wait for the free day?

Under my erotica pen name, I put one of my titles in Select (don't ask why) - yet I never did a free give away. Of all the books under that pen name, the Select one is among the poorest sellers. I recently took it out of select, and am curious to see what sales will do on that book.

Bobbi
daysoldier

Posts: 778
Registered: 04/03/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 5:48 PM   in response to: robethpublishin... in response to: robethpublishin...
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I'd be interested to see how that turns out, Bobbi.

I think the conclusion I've come to is that we really have no idea whether or not freebies - in and of themselves - will help or hurt us in the long run. All we can base our opinions on is anecdotal information.

That said, I don't blame folks a bit for giving freebies a shot. At the same time, I don't blame folks a bit for being against it.

We won't know who's right for quite a while, I think.

If ever.

My big long speech was just addressing why we see boosts, not whether or not they're a good idea.

And even that is just my view on it. I'm certainly no expert.
serenityvalley

Posts: 103
Registered: 01/10/12
Re: Why on earth would I ever give away my work, nay my art, for free?!
Posted: Jun 30, 2012 6:23 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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Very well said, and I respect your opinion one hundred percent. We will never see a day when all authors agree on this subject and I understand that. I've had decent success with it, but everyone is different. I respect that.

What I can't understand(or respect) are posts that use this subject to badger new authors or shame them for giving work away for free? If anything, we should all be encouraging them. Even the world's greatest word wizards were once new. It seems like every single time I am on these boards I see a post from an author just starting out and a reply slamming them for trying out KDP Select. It's almost as if people lurk on here 24-7 for the single purpose of discouraging others.

So, to the new authors out there. WELCOME. Focus on where you want to be as an author, then put in the work. If you need help, have questions on promoting or need me to rebroadcast your book link; you can find me on Twitter @johndavisbooks
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