Giving it Away

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.

Screenshot 2014-12-03 04.35.08

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:

Tempting Will McGlashen by Liz Everly - 50015th December:

16th December:

17th December:

18th December:

19th December:


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  • barbaramikula
    December 9, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Hi Liz!

    • barbaramikula
      December 9, 2014 at 8:37 am

      I’m fumble fingered today! Hope your freebie works out. Amazon has my first book for 99 cents and I do think it has spurred sales as the Le Club Series continues to sell. It’s a crap shoot. No, we don’t write for money alone, but we DO like to eat! LOL – Skye Michaels

  • C. Margery Kempe
    December 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    They’re fabulous books at any price. I highly recommend them!

  • Liz Everly
    December 13, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Giving it Away

  • Terry Tyler
    December 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I wrote a long post about why even if you get 5000 downloads you might only get a handful of new readers, you might have read it, as I think I have actually voiced that a free book is not that much of a big deal anymore! Yes, you’re right, it’s a shame. It’s writers who’ve caused this, alas! I still do free promotions occasionally. Even for just that handful. I do my short story collection free every few months (Boxing Day for 5 days next time!). And yes, if I like a book I’ll buy another, regardless of whether it’s 4.99 or 77p. If I don’t, I won’t download load it even if it’s SUPER free!

    • Liz Everly
      December 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Hi Terry, I’m sure your blog is one of the recent things I’ve read about this. I love your blog. I’ve also been hearing readers and writers chatting about it these days. It seems to be a hot topic in some circles. Thanks for commenting! Cheers!


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