Does offering your book for free work?
You make your book free on Kindle so anyone who wants to can download a copy. Why? The idea is you give away loads of copies in the hope readers will then buy another of your titles. Simple advertising and everyone likes something for free, so you get lots of publicity in return and without paying anything.
I have always been dubious, but I tried it at the end of last month. ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House’, one of the more romantic of the ‘Mentor’ series, hadn’t sold any copies in December so over the New Year period I put it up for five days for free. The title had already covered its cover and editing costs and had, in 2018, broken even in that respect. The giveaway on Amazon resulted in 577 copies being taken for free. I don’t know how many copies were read, they may have been downloaded and saved for the future, but clearly, 577 readers at least saw the title and author name while grabbing their freebie.
I didn’t expect the promotion to lead to the sale of other titles straight away, but I have noticed a change already, for the better, and the leader on the sales board after only five days since the giveaway ended, is ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House.’ Okay, so only four copies sold and 1,181 page reads under Kindle Unlimited (roughly another six copies) but considering there were none of either in the previous month, a huge improvement.
Is this because of the free giveaway, or just coincidence? I can’t tell. Did readers click on the title thinking it was still free but actually paid for it? I hope not. Was it because the title was up at the top of Amazon lists for a while because it was free? Who knows? What I do know is that although the resulting income has not yet matched the amount I would have made if 577 readers paid for the book, the promotion appears to have had a positive effect on sales of this title and others.
It will be interesting to see, over the next few days, if this trend continues or if it was just a New Year thing – readers spending money again after the Christmas break. Whatever happens, it’s good to know that people are out there reading and, hopefully, enjoy the books. The reviewers think so. “Wow, Wow, Wow….. This story has that slow long burn feeling to it that gets into you and doesn’t let you go” is a sample from one of the Amazon.com reviews.
So far, the answer to my question, Does offering your book for free work? Appears to be, yes.