To free or not to free? There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Lots of people say: “Don’t give your work away” and I can understand that, but I also know that there are authors out there who’ve made a great business using free books to funnel readers towards their books who will pay for their other books. Then there’s the flip-side, that you’re debasing your work.
The Attitude of Some Free Book Readers:
I found two readers discussing on a book forum (unfortunately I don’t recall which one), about authors who gave away free books on a series, and they called it a scam. A scam! An author gives them a free book in a series as a trial to see if they like it, with no investment on their part, all they had to do was download it and read it, but they called it a ‘scam’ because the author didn’t finish the story in the first book.
Now I’m not saying all of the readers who get free books are like that, but you do get enough of that kind of attitude that it’s been mentioned by other authors who give free books. Think about that…a substantial percentage of the people who download your book don’t even like the genre they’re downloading and are getting it just because it’s free and then give you a one-star review because they didn’t like it. That kind of resolve is closed-mindedness. I’ve rated books I didn’t like as three stars or higher depending on their quality, they merely didn’t suit my taste (one star ratings are reserved for poorly written, eye-rolling books that I can’t finish). Myself, I have so many books in my e-reader that I only ever get the free books that make the cut on my interest level… free or paid, it doesn’t matter to me. Interestingly my husband, who goes through books FAR quicker than I do and reads voraciously, doesn’t even like the idea of getting a free book. I was floored. I questioned him about it and he said: If the author doesn’t value it, why should I? (I’m truncating but that was the gist).
In essence, I recommend an author not to give away your book for free without having it do something for you, because it’s just another form of marketing. My free book week got me about 30 reviews, and that was because I asked for them at the back of the book. At the moment I want to find the readers who like the same stuff I like to write or who like the Wanderer multiverse that I’m currently writing in. Unlike most authors, I don’t think I’ll give away Book One for free… but I’ll certainly be handing out lots of a large sample from it.
Update: I apologise for the huge delay between posting in here, I believe three weeks is the biggest gap this blog has had so far. I’ve been working on getting Blue Shift ready to publish this month and am finishing up Book One of Wanderer of Worlds… I’ll have some stuff to discuss soon once I find out what’s working (and not working) while I bring them up to speed.