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Thread: Do not give your book away free! EVER


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smutnut

Posts: 160
Registered: 09/19/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 8:04 AM   in response to: skyebluebooks in response to: skyebluebooks
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I haven't sold any screenplays in years (long before Amazon KDP existed as far as I know) and when I did, I sold them the old fashion way, sending through snail mail inquiry letters first to production Studios, sometimes using a WGA signatory agent. I heard you can sell them on Amazon, but don't really get the point to that unless it was something already produced.
skyebluebooks

Posts: 15
Registered: 01/02/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 8:38 AM   in response to: smutnut in response to: smutnut
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Thanks! I didn't think there was any other way to do it. Appreciate the response!

Cassie
smutnut

Posts: 160
Registered: 09/19/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 8:45 AM   in response to: skyebluebooks in response to: skyebluebooks
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I think these days most of the submitting for screenplays is being done through emails and file transfers, but you still want to submit to movie studios in my opinion because a screenplay isn't much without a finished film in my opinion. I can't imagine them using snail mail any longer
astutemuse

Posts: 50
Registered: 06/25/11
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 1:44 PM   in response to: skyebluebooks in response to: skyebluebooks
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I think you're doing the right thing for you. Sounds like your sales are growing just fine. I would prefer it if there weren't so many free books out there but from what people say about them, they often don't get read even if well-written? In general people value something more if they pay for it.
juliecavanagh2

Posts: 44
Registered: 02/28/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 3:32 PM   in response to: astutemuse in response to: astutemuse
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Hmm - not sure I agree. I write some very adult stories and I made the first collection free. The second collection is for sale and I have a conversion rate of about 10% - so for every 100 free downloads of the first one, I get 10 sales of the second. But before I made the first one free, I was getting 0 sales, as my books were drowning in all the other stuff that's out there.

So far I'm up to 70,000 free downloads on Amazon alone - so that's 7000 sales that I wouldn't otherwise have had.

And I have people clamouring for Book Three.

Book One will always be free as far as I can help it :)
smutnut

Posts: 160
Registered: 09/19/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 4:27 PM   in response to: juliecavanagh2 in response to: juliecavanagh2
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Well, you have a good system worked out, but I would have a lot of questions about it like duration etc. etc.Like if it's 7000 sales in one month you're an f*ing god. If it's 7000 sales over 7 years not so much. I don't believe in giving a book away for free no matter what. Hollywood producers try to get you to work for free, but wouldn't ask you to wash their car for free. Go figure. It's just a self respect thing.

You do have to start somewhere and if it works out, great. I just never heard of anyone giving anything away for free that made out in the end. Even Tarentino sold that DUSK TIL DAWN thing for 1500 bucks. then he made out huge when the had to call him back for his name. I mean for god sakes your asking for 3 dollars. Get real.
christywparker

Posts: 148
Registered: 08/09/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 1, 2012 10:16 PM   in response to: smutnut in response to: smutnut
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I know of one author on KDP who keeps one of her books for free. She has something like 20 titles available, and many of them are in a series. Book one of her largest series is always free. She claims that the books from all of her series get a considerable bump in sales from having one title free.

That being said, I like $3.00 as a price point. I think that it is a suitable profit for authors, it is obviously in the price range that Amazon would prefer, and the 70% option is a big gain. A book priced at $3.00 in the 70% option nets the author about $2.00 per book sold. For an author in TradPub, a standard payment is 15%. That means that a book would have to be priced around $13.50 for the author to earn $2.00.

I feel that the $3.00 price is low enough to make the book appealing to multiple markets (not so cheap that a spender wouldn't buy it, not too pricey for someone who is on a tight budget), yet is the equivalent to the author of a $13.50 in the TradPub market. It does not devalue the work or the art, and it is still more affordable than most TradPubs.

I consider it to be an eBook sweet-spot.
skyebluebooks

Posts: 15
Registered: 01/02/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 8:52 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I appreciate all the input. I am averaging close to 10 per day either purchased or borrowed, mostly purchased. I do give away hard copies every now and then, and that has gotten me enough of a following that word-of-mouth is impacting sales. I doubt I'll ever be a "serial" writer, but I understand getting people hooked on your work in the hope that they follow you, so I'm glad that works for some of you. I'm selling Kindle books at 4.99 a copy and that is enough of a royalty that I don't feel like I'm giving it away.

I'll keep going the way I am and see what happens.

Thanks again, y'all!

Cassie
jaydax

Posts: 211
Registered: 10/17/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 2:55 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Can't say I agree. Judging from the number of free give-aways each day there are thousands of others who don't agree either.

When I first stared writing with my co-author our sales were truly abysmal. After joining Kindle Select there was a huge improvement. We sold in one month eight times as many books as in the previous two years!
Having said that Amazon changed the rules and the program is now not nearly as effective. In the past if your book got to the top ten of free in your genre it remained in the top ten when the give-away ended for a day or two. The impact on sales of being in that position was tremendous. Around mid-April 2012 the system changed and you then remained in your free rank for a matter of an hour. I noticed UK sales (8 hours ahead of Amazon's PST) were stronger than US sales, especially if you timed it to end at a weekend. Just recently the rules changed again. When your book leaves it's free give-away it's rank will be removed completely and won't re-appear for an hour or so. If you had a book which was moderately successful your overall rank of say 735 in the top free books went blank until an hour later when it re-appeared at it's previous 2,700 in 'Paid books'. That's not helpful Amazon!

To get the most out of free give-aways:
• have more than one book available. Ideally give away the first in a series. If you have a single book then you won't see much benefit other than you might pick up some reviews and if your book makes enough impact then people will remember your name and be more likely to buy your subsequent books.
• promote your book heavily before, during and after the give-away
• timing of the give-away is crucial. weekends and holidays work better.

There's also another option. Remove your book from Select and give it away free at Smashwords. Eventually Amazon.com will notice and price-match (Amazon.co.uk are much slower to take notice). That's when your book, if it's any good, will start to appear permanently in the top 100 free in your genre and sales of your other books will see an effect. I speak from experience since you'll find our book in the top 10 of free technothrillers - it's been there for the last month.
jaydax

Posts: 211
Registered: 10/17/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 2:56 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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Can't say I agree. Judging from the number of free give-aways each day there are thousands of others who don't agree either.

When I first stared writing with my co-author our sales were truly abysmal. After joining Kindle Select there was a huge improvement. We sold in one month eight times as many books as in the previous two years!
Having said that Amazon changed the rules and the program is now not nearly as effective. In the past if your book got to the top ten of free in your genre it remained in the top ten when the give-away ended for a day or two. The impact on sales of being in that position was tremendous. Around mid-April 2012 the system changed and you then remained in your free rank for a matter of an hour. I noticed UK sales (8 hours ahead of Amazon's PST) were stronger than US sales, especially if you timed it to end at a weekend. Just recently the rules changed again. When your book leaves it's free give-away it's rank will be removed completely and won't re-appear for an hour or so. If you had a book which was moderately successful your overall rank of say 735 in the top free books went blank until an hour later when it re-appeared at it's previous 2,700 in 'Paid books'. That's not helpful Amazon!

To get the most out of free give-aways:
• have more than one book available. Ideally give away the first in a series. If you have a single book then you won't see much benefit other than you might pick up some reviews and if your book makes enough impact then people will remember your name and be more likely to buy your subsequent books.
• promote your book heavily before, during and after the give-away
• timing of the give-away is crucial. weekends and holidays work better.

There's also another option. Remove your book from Select and give it away free at Smashwords. Eventually Amazon.com will notice and price-match (Amazon.co.uk are much slower to take notice). That's when your book, if it's any good, will start to appear permanently in the top 100 free in your genre and sales of your other books will see an effect. I speak from experience since you'll find our book in the top 10 of free technothrillers - it's been there for the last month.
David McMullen-...

Posts: 6
Registered: 11/02/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 4:57 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I wrote a short story that I have put on the kdp select ("Murder at Shady Oaks Senior Estates: the Demise of Justin Bieber"). I actually at this stage am not interested in making money off my work. I'm just interested in being read. The funny thing is, even though it's offered for free on kdp - I haven't gotten a single borrow. Maybe I'm doing things all wrong - but my point is that not everyone is in puirsuit of money when they write something. So for those people, it's fine to give their work away for free.
skyebluebooks

Posts: 15
Registered: 01/02/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 2, 2012 8:42 PM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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How do you see your "rank" in Amazon or KDP Select? I keep hearing people talking about it and can't find this answer.

CDS
christywparker

Posts: 148
Registered: 08/09/10
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 3, 2012 9:18 AM   in response to: skyebluebooks in response to: skyebluebooks
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If you search your book in the Amazon search engine, and then scroll down to the Product Details, your rank will be listed there. You can also go to Author Central and view your rank in graph format there, although I find just going to the Product Details to be faster and more accurate.
esldonna

Posts: 40
Registered: 06/13/11
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 4, 2012 9:17 AM   in response to: detectingfun in response to: detectingfun
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I was very dubious about putting my book on KDP, and offering it for free. I found it to be a strange concept, but then one day I just did it. The outcome was in two days of listing my book for free; I received 8,000 downloads. Yes, I was shocked, but also slightly nervous. Did this mean everyone who would ever want to read my book, now had it free? When I looked at my report, I saw the sales numbers had tripled for that week also. All I can say is, Whoopee!
I have no idea if KDP is what everyone should try, or not, but I am happy with them.
Will I put it up again for free later? I still have three more days that are available for me to list them, but I don't think I'll use them.
Good luck with what ever you chose to do.
Pamela Warren

Posts: 274
Registered: 09/25/12
Re: Do not give your book away free! EVER
Posted: Nov 4, 2012 9:36 PM   in response to: juliecavanagh2 in response to: juliecavanagh2
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I think there are several reasons to give away your book for free. If you have other books, then readers find out about you and your work and may buy your other works. I have a sequel that I just wrote. I'm thinking of putting it up for free, hoping that it will increase the sales of the first book. Another reason that you put your books out for free is to increase your ranking on
the various Amazon lists. When I put my first book up for a one day free promotion, it temporarily made it to number one
on the free Music books list. If you are an unknown author, then it gets your name and work out in front of a lot of readers who may buy your work in the future. Also, someone mentioned market research. You get to see what other books that people buy or look at. This can be valuable information as to who your readers are. I'm also guessing that people who download books for free may be a separate group than the people who buy your books because they are interested in the subject matter.
You might not actually sell your book to the free group anyway. It might give them a little incentive to experiement with
a genre where they might not normally buy books. I'm guessing that you need to use your free days judiciously, but sometimes it can be valuable.
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