I believe in free books. As a promo tool, I have used it almost from the beginning of my career. There were a couple of reasons I did that. One, no one knew who I was. I had to let readers get to know me, and what better way than with one of my books. Two, it was cheaper than other promos, like ads and mailing stuff. I was on a tight budget.
I am always amazed when I hear other authors say they don’t like giving away books. Are there some readers who abuse it. Yes. Just like every other free thing there is in the world. But, it also gives you a chance at gaining readers. When Samhain put ALH Sex up for free for the first two weeks of May, the sales of all my other Harmless books went through the roof. Plus, I still sold 9,000 copies of A Little Harmless Sex. I can’t tell you how many free books were downloaded because Samhain has never sent those numbers to me. But based on what I know now, it must have been amazing. Either way, the Harmless series sold 18,000 copies that month. One month! So I know the free book works.
This past week I took a gamble. It wasn’t easy because I am a Capricorn and we don’t like taking them. We don’t like to do anything spontaneous unless it is planned in some way. Yes, I know that being spontaneous isn’t supposed to be planned. Cappy’s just don’t like that. So, when my book, Callum, was doing exactly what I expected, I knew I needed to do something. I am very good at knowing what a book will do–at least one of my books. I knew that it would not sell like a Harmless book and it is a new subgenre for me, and NOT erotic. I had a few reservations about putting it out for free. Because I am self-published, I cannot list it for a free promo on Barnes and Noble. While other people do not sell that well there, I do decently. Yes, I could have gotten there free other ways, but that would leave me without earnings off a book I just released. I am just not willing to do that. At the time of writing this blog, Barnes and Noble still has not addressed this issue other than whining that Amazon is trying to corner the market. They are, that is part of business. If you want to compete, pull your head out of your ass and pay attention.
But I digress as usual lol. Okay, so to get it free on a major place, Amazon, I had to accept the terms of KDP SELECT. The book has to be on there exclusively for 90 days. During that time I have FIVE days I can put it up for free. I also have it placed in the borrowing library where my books available to anyone with a prime membership and a kindle device. The reader has the ability to borrow one book a month. Then, based on the borrows and number of books in the programs, I get a % of the fund they set aside. So, it made it into the top 10 of Contemporary Romance for free, top 20 for Free Romance and the top 30 for overall on Amazon’s free list. And, the whopping total of downloads is:
UPDATE: I have cracked 1000 on the sales ranking and have now sold more than twice as many copies in three days of sales since it went off sale for free, than I did the entire first month of sales. I think that says it was a good idea.