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free books

I stopped presenting acquaintances with copies of my books after the first one. I only continue to contributors, while I now favor exchanges with colleagues.

After the first gifts, I came to the conclusion people have little esteem for a free book given away by its author (unless he/she is a very famous one). Suddenly they feel superior to the author. They seem to have more consideration for a book they've bought because their money is involved. By the same token, I think even a stolen book has more value in their eyes, because their crime involves some risk. In other words, the a priori value of a book for its average owner is simply its price.


  • Having given away more than 12 000 books I decided to stop doing that. I foolishly thought that I was reaching people who were interested in books - and, more to the point, my books - and that they would then buy my other books, which were not free. It didn't happen; the only people I reached were those who wanted free books.


    Sales figures are about the same without free books as they were when I gave them away.


    It would appear that Potetjp is right; people do not appear to value free books. All they do is stroke your ego but they don't add to your bank balance. On the other hand 12 000 x $0.35 is not going to add that much to your bank balance anyway.

  • potetjppotetjp Professor
    12 000 books! Amazing!
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    People love free stuff, and no doubt would never have brought the object in the first place. But it must be depressing that giving away 12,000 books did not result in those people not then buying your other books. That's the idea of freebies. They are adverts.


    But acquaintances can be strange. They assume that published writers are not people they know! Then mention, or they discover, that one self-publishes, then they assume that is has to be c**p, then.

    But then again, it's dismal how few people do actually read books.

  • Wow, I have had the opposite experience. Many of my friends don't know I write, and I've given out a handful of copies to people, but that's it. 


    I write erotica in a variety of genres, (cyberpunk, contemporary, etc), and there is a glut - it's difficult to get noticed, although I have had some success, (over 6000 books across all platforms in close to three years).


    My five-book contemporary series is complete, and it is my most popular one, and I decided to give away book one, ("An Accidental Affair"), for free.


    My sales, (mostly on Amazon), have jumped, as people not only buy the follow on books, but I have seen an uptick in the sales of my other four books as well.


    That being said, I am giving away a LOT of my first book for free - over a hundred every day for over a month, sometimes close to two hundred. I had priced "...Affair" low at 99 cents prior to that, as an enticement, because I know a lot of people, (myself included), have had bad luck with Indie authors, so I wasn't losing much revenue when I pushed it to free, and with how sales are now, I've more than made up for it.



  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    Congratulations, Linlithgow.

  • Thanks, we'll see where it goes.


    My point was that free books can work; I think the circumstances need to be right. I'm sure timing and genre play a role, too. It's difficult to try and figure out a price point to begin with, everyone takes a cut, but I also want to price my novels fairly, and am aware there are a lot of offerings that are free or low cost.

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