Saturday, January 28, 2012

Readers Like Free. So Should Authors.

Free definitely works, in my experience. Indie authors have much freedom and flexibility and should take advantage of that. Experiment with pricing. Experiment with freebies.

If nothing else, I recommend y'all write a short story with the sole purpose of making it free. Get it a nice cover and everything. Use the back matter to list all your other works. AND MAKE THE WORK FREE! :-)

For example, I had a short-story collection ("Miss Lucy Parker and Other Short Stories"). It is my only gen fic work, btw. I made it free on Smashwords and BN, and in a few weeks, Amazon followed suit. "MLP" just missed being in the top 100 in the free Kindle store. Yep, the top 100 Kindle. That still blows my mind. It had barely sold anything before becoming free, so I knew I had little, if anything, to lose by making it free. It isn't free anymore (it's 99 cents now), but this collection that barely sold anything before sells at least five to ten copies a day now. PLUS making it free got "MLP" a lot of nice reviews on Amazon and most likely more visibility and awareness of my other books.

I also made "The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories" free. It didn't do as well as "MLP" on Amazon, but it did much better than "MLP" on BN and Smashwords. (Go figure.) Similar pattern to "MLP" -- more reviews, more visibility. "Old Woman" barely sold before it became free. Now it's back to its $2.99 list price and sells at least five to ten copies every day, too. I got a few emails from people who got "Old Woman" for free and bought my other books as a result. These few emails probably equate to more people who bought my other books but didn't email me.

It is important to keep in mind that freebies often work long term. Many people snatch up the free stuff and may never get around to them, or take their sweet old time getting around to them.

With my two free-short story collections having about 10,000-15,000 free downloads each, that's probably 20,000 to 30,000 readers who would not have heard of me otherwise.

Same for some of the people who downloaded "The Odd Couple" during its two-day free period on KDP Select. (KDP Select is a whole other issue. I have one book in it ("The Odd Couple"). The exclusivity clause has always bothered me, and I'm probably not renewing "The Odd Couple" when its 90-day period expires. I doubt I'll enroll another book, but I might. I'll have to see how sales of all my titles are doing at other channels first.)
Anyway!

Free is worthwhile JUST for the visibility and exposure. Really.

Gonna repeat what I said earlier: If nothing else, I recommend y'all write a short story with the sole purpose of making it free. Get it a nice cover and everything. Use the back matter to list all your other works. AND MAKE THE WORK FREE! :-)

No comments: