Some friends are horrified at me giving away free copies of my book. ‘You’re not making money!’ they cry. Of course, they haven’t realized how valuable ‘free’ is.
‘Free’ is a wonderful word everybody loves to hear. Nobody loses with ‘free’ – you’re getting something without spending money, so you’re likely to take a risk. If it’s not for you, you’ve lost nothing. If you love it, you’ve been exposed to something new you may not have tried if not for that magical word. ‘Free’ is the indie author’s friend.
I’m not saying give every person a free copy of your novel, but running a giveaway offering a number of copies can really generate interest. Lowering the price of your eBook to £0 for 24 hours can see your readership increase because people are more likely to pick it up. Many readers specifically look for free eBooks. With money tight and book prices rising, unless it is a known author they adore, they stick to free eBooks because it is a way to get their literary fix without breaking the bank. And if one person likes it and recommends it to a friend, that friend could be a paid purchase.
I also distribute free copies to people who are specifically reading to review. There are numerous people willing to do this, such as the wonderful team at Rock the Book. Reviews are gold. Not only can they be an ego boost (or a sobering reality) but they are one of the main things customers look for when purchasing novels (along with cover and blurb). Utilizing services offered by people who are happy to read and review in exchange for a free copy is an invaluable investment.
There is a line between profitable ‘free’ and giving it away to everyone. You need to be using ‘free’ to generate interest, gain readership and hold attention. If it is always free, the hype will burn out and people may question why it is priced at nothing.
Use ‘free’ sporadically – drop the price to nothing for 2 to 5 days every 6 months.
Time ‘free’ right – coincide it with a specifically high reading time: winter, back to school, summer vacations, a holiday your book is associated with (Halloween Horror, Valentine’s Romance).
Promotion – Generate hype! Create Facebook events, update your website/social media, produce a countdown, post daily during the ‘free’ event. Get people interested.
Chloe is of British-Maltese descent and grew up in the small, seaside town of Brugibba with her mother, grandmother and two arrogant cats. She now lives in Surrey, UK, dividing her time between writing novels and teaching English, with almost no time to sleep in between the two. She is a lover of great books, good company and bad puns.
Find out more about Chloe on her site, or find her book on Amazon.