So the publisher of my e-book series,( SAFFRON NIGHTS )is giving away the first book in the series. The numbers were way up last week because of it. It made me jump for joy and cringe at the same time. Because—YAY—what a great rating. But—BOO—nobody is making any money off of it.
The theory is, of course, that people will love the first book in the series so much that they will buy the other two books. And even if they don’t, I’m now on their radar and the next time they see a book written by me they may be more likely to pick it up.
I have several friends who have done extraordinarily well with their series because they made the first book permanently free. So maybe there’s something to it. But then again, as all successful marketing trends go up, they often come down. And as I recently read somewhere “A free book is not that big of a deal anymore.”
Which made me very sad.
Most writers don’t write for money alone. What I mean is, it’s not the reason we write. We all write for different reasons. But writing books is hard work. And writers do have to pay bills—just like everybody else. And I know readers enjoy the entertainment—why do some feel like it should be free? Is this what we’ve done by offering free so many books? I don’t know any of the answers. I wish I did.
I’ve been a professional writer for about 30 years, now, in various guises. But before that, I was a reader. A free book would have been (and is) a treat to me. I can’t imagine “expecting” to have free books from my favorite writers. Do people go to the movies for free? See plays for free? Live bands? Nope.
Rant over. I enjoy a good freebie as much as the next person. But I don’t expect them and I lay down the money to read the next book, do you?
If I was in Indie writer, I’d see the results of this latest promo quickly—as in hard core numbers. I could tell you exactly how many downloads there have been and so on. But, it will be awhile before I know anything. I’ll report back to you when I do. And then the other sad truth of the matter is that even though, say, 5,000 people download the book, maybe 2 will read it. Or nobody. Who knows?
I don’t harbor any resentment for e-Kensington for making this book free. I think it’s a good idea. I’m hopeful that the more people who read it, the better off the whole series will be. That series is not for formula-romance readers and it’s taking awhile to find it’s larger audience. Any push is better than none at all.
Free books: Are they still a good way to market and promote to reach readers, or are they doing nothing for writers these days? What do YOU say?
In the mean time, I am on a blog tour next week and will be offering a $15 gift card as a prize, so follow along on the TEMPTING WILL McGLASHEN blog tour:
15th December: http://locglin.blogspot.com/
16th December: http://www.roomwithbooks.com/
17th December: http://www.pinkypollock.blogspot.com
18th December: http://www.fenellajmiller.co.uk/
19th December: http://gracemarshallromance.co.uk