Yes I loved seeing people download my books for free. Mainly, knowing that someone somewhere was reading my work. Work that I had slaved over for nearly a year. Publishing agents ignore you (I suspect they don't even look at 99% percent of submissions)So it's refreshing to know that it's out there and available at last!

But now that  the free giveaways are over I ask.  We're selling our books for so little compared to the hard copies in book shops, so why are people so hesitant to spend, what $1.00? or $1.99?

Kindle owners need to look at the bigger picture and spend that $1.00 wisely on a damn good read. A bargain in anyones budget.

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Jeff, it's difficult to say or guess why the lower prices aren't really flying off the shelves, other than to say that the Kindle market is really getting flooded right now. I have a short prequel that ties in to my main book selling for $.99, and the Kindle book is set at $2.99. Both have been offered free as downloads about four times (periodically) or the span of about 20 days. Sales have been brisk, ranging from low ranks of 20,000 to about 220,000. The book has popped in and out of the top100 best-seller lists about a dozen times.

I announce the book and the short here, of course, along with my daily blog post. I also announce once a day at FB and Twitter, then over at my huge writing group I've put them up at display sites all over the internet.

What actually drives sales is great ranking, which leads to more reviews, which leads to more sales. You have to push hard to get your rank into that position. There comes a tipping point where the books inertia or momentum takes off and it begins to stay in a relatively fixed position--and that is usually inside the top 100 best-selling lists. I was told to get a blog and create a following as fast as possible. I did it too late, so I'm having to put forth twice the effort. 

Keep your website and/or blog very active and make/request friends. Have interesting topics to write about and interact with your commentators. And of course link all over the place.

Good luck!


many thanks for the advice


good comments. Thanks for that.

Do you have reviews on your books? I'm always hesitant to spend money on books that only have a couple reviews. Maybe the next time you have a free promotion, try to push people to review/rate the book.

good idea thanks

I would love any links or ideas who may revue them for me?



The best way I would suggest to find reviewers is through the Book Blog Search Engine:

Think of a book that's similar to yours and search for a review of that book. Look through the results and find a reviewer that liked the similar book. Chances are they'd like your book as well. Contact them!

You can also look through the book blogger directory to find the best blogger for your genre of book.

It all comes down to the fact that your book is competing with a zillion others being offered just as cheaply or even more cheaply (like free.) If the prospective customer has never heard of you, it's very difficult for your work to stand out from the crowd.

Even though the writer who went the traditional publishing route has product that sells for a higher price, he also has a certain advantage. Potential customers know that while they could end up hating his book, people at the publishing house, professional editors and such who theoretically know what they're doing, must have thought it was pretty good or they wouldn't have bought the rights. This provides at least a modest level of quality assurance. In contrast, the self-publshed writer's book may be a masterpiece, but on the other hand, he could have thrown it up on Amazon even if it's the worst piece of garbage in the history of the written word. Because there was no gatekeeper.

I am by no means implying that this kind of thinking ought to loom large in customers' purchasing decisions or that most self-published works are without merit. I'm just trying to lay out one of the obstacles we have to overcome.

I think giving material away to create demand for the stuff you're selling can be a viable strategy, but even then, there are no guarantees. I did it, and my self-published material has yet to set the ebook world on fire.


I will say right off the bat that I don't agree with the free giveaways the way Amazon does them. Unlimited free giveaways don't generates excitement. Most free books are never read. Book hoarders take them and never get to them. Goodreads does giveaways the right way. I'm doing one now. I'm giving away two autographed copies of my book. Readers are trying to "win" it. It creates a positive buzz. They have a month to enter and then Goodreads picks the winners. This doesn't work for ebooks--but the concept of giving away a limited number of copies makes them more valuable.

Also, Starbucks trained customers to spend over $3 for a cup a coffee and customers are thrilled to do it. They balk at spending that much on an ebook because authors are training them that ebooks are worth nothing. This is the main reason why I don't agree with the free giveaways on Amazon. I think the lending is fair to everyone, but not the giveaways.

More downside--some authors are getting bad reviews from people who didn't even pay for the book! And authors on the KDP community have said that customers are emailing them asking about the next free giveaway. They don't want to pay for books at all.

Lastly, as a reader--I never look at the publisher. I could not tell you who published The Hunger Games or Julie of the Wolves or Twilight. The way people have learned to spot an indie book is by the low price. An inferior cover or unprofessional blurb and author bio are another clue. If an indie book is priced higher and has a quality cover and editing--the average reader will never know the difference and won't care. Good marketing is how they sell more than we do--and in reality--most traditional books go out of print if they don't sell well the first few months. We don't see the competition that failed to compete.

We teach people how to treat us and that's why I don't believe in even a day of unlimited free downloads. In the long run, I think it hurts us more than it helps us.  

I couldn't agree more. I think people who give their books away for free or for .99c are crazy. They are also killing it for everyone else. The trouble - with all due respect - is that too many indi authors think that all they need to do is write a story, slap a picture on the front of it and then send it to Amazon. WRONG. Unless you are prepared to do as much work - and spend as much money - as a traditional publisher in making the book as good as you can, then it's not worth doing, and you are doing more harm than good to the industry as a whole. What do i mean by work and money? PAY an professional editor to read your novel and to correct your multitude of mistakes, and PAY a designer to give your book a decent, meaningful cover. It is the only way we will be able to convince buyers that we are serious and have a product worth more than a cup of coffee.

I have to be honest, I don't even download free books from Amazon because I know they'll be filled with so many grammatical and spelling errors that I'll stop reading after about 10 pages anyway. I don't want to waste my time. I review self-published books sometimes, but I try to keep those reviews to a minimum, too, because I feel bad giving a bad review to someone who doesn't have corporate backing because it could really hurt their bank account. On the other hand, I hate to lie and say I loved a book when I hated it. The self-published thing is just difficult for most people to trust because there are so many terrible ones out there. If I won't even download a free book, there's no way I'd spend actual money on one. I also agree with the person who talked about book hoarders. A lot of people just want tons of books and never read them, from what I've noticed. It's strange, but it does happen apparently. As a reader, that's my two cents. 


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