I’m an Angsty Little Hamlet!
“To be free, or not to be free, that is the book marketing question—
Whether ’tis Nobler for indie authors to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of Amazon’s algorithm,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of freebies,
And by opposing, end them? To download, to sell—
No more; and by sell, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Marketing shocks
Authors are heir to? ‘Tis an extroversion,
Devoutly to be wished. To buy, to sell,
To write, perchance to Sell; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that point of sale, what reviews may come,
When readers shuffle off this merchant’s coil,
Must give us pause.” ~Tui Snider, channeling Hamlet through the perspective of an indie author
Major Marketing Question: What’s Free Got to do with It?
Why, you ask?
Paranormal Texas is my second book release, and so it was much easier this time around. I learned from my mistakes and did a few things differently. Other tasks remained the same, but I whizzed through them simply because I had done them before.
The research, writing, cover creation, front matter, back matter, and all the million little steps required to turn a big pile of words into the pages of a book – all that makes sense to me now. All those skills can be honed, honed and even turned into a recipe of sorts to follow again and again.
Because of this, I feel fairly competent when it comes to creating a book.
However, when it comes to marketing a book, I turn into an angsty little Hamlet as you can see by the soliloquy above.
Why offer a book for free?
For one thing, since I’m enrolled in Amazon’s KDP program, I can offer my book for free for up to 5 days in each 90 day period that it is available for sale.
Why offer my book, Paranormal Texas, for free after putting so many hours of writing and research into it? Is this a smart move, even if it’s only for a short while?
That’s a good question, and one I’ve pondered long and hard – usually around 3:00 a.m. when the marketing side of my brain wakes up specifically to annoy me with niggling little details. After a whole lot of insomnia, I very nearly chose to not to offer Paranormal Texas for free at all.
But then I launched the book, and online sales were slow (offline is another story!) So last Sunday, I arranged it so that Paranormal Texas is available for free from Sunday, October 12 through Wednesday, October 15.
Of course, the moment I sealed the deal, online sales picked up.
Hey, I’m not complaining, but what’s that all about?
Murphy’s Law? Maybe it’s because Halloween is around the corner? I don’t know! Whatever the case, as of yesterday both of my books, Unexpected Texas, and Paranormal Texas, were side-by-side in the #3 and #4 spaces on Amazon’s Best Seller’s list for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel.
My reasons for going free
So… back to the original question, why should an author offer their book for free on Amazon? Here are my personal reasons:
1. Later reviews appear as an Amazon verified purchase:
I sell a lot of paperbacks directly to people – way more than I do through the Amazon site. Since I purchase these books straight from CreateSpace, they don’t count towards my Amazon sales ranking. Still, some of these folks have told me they want to leave reviews on Amazon. If they have also downloaded a digital version, their review will show up as an Amazon verified purchase when the time comes – and a verified review always looks better than an unverified one.
2. Attract new readers:
Since the book is free, someone who is on the fence about what my books have to offer might take the plunge and buy one.
3. Spur more sales:
It sounds counterintuitive, but over and over I read about how offering a book for free helps boost subsequent sales.
4. Attract attention to other books:
Now that I have two books for sale, offering my newest one for free may help attract readers to my other book, Unexpected Texas.
Grab a Free copy of Paranormal Texas for yourself
If you’ve read this far, why don’t you go ahead, click this link and download Paranormal Texas for free for yourself!
Please leave a comment, too, if you decide to download the book. Makes me feel good. :)
Also, if you enjoy Paranormal Texas, I hope you will eventually leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, as well. If you don’t enjoy it? Move along… there’s nothing to see here!