Free Aint What it Used to Be

Fellow authors, FYI…

I just did a Amazon/KDP free giveaway for THE GENERAL STORE, my latest novel, another undiscovered comic fiction masterpiece. Over a three day period with one day of intense Twitter spam, 130 free downloads happened. Earlier in the month I gave away EVEN STEVEN for 2 days. It realized 78 downloads. I also did a 2-day freebie for THE WALKING MAN. 398 downloads happened. For both EVEN STEVEN and THE WALKING MAN I did zero pre-promotion, and maybe 1 tweet each during the free period.

Six months ago when I did a KDP giveaway, several thousand downloads would happen.

Follow-on sales for THE WALKING MAN were zippo. EVEN STEVEN sold 8 copies. The returns for THE GENERAL STORE are pending.

I think this data suggests readers are waiting for free. To me, it also suggests once a book has launched and received decent critical acclaim, like THE WALKING MAN, a free offer is not a good thing. It de-values the work.

I’m doing a combo of blogging and advertising moving forward. I’ll let you know how it goes…I’m not doing Twitter spam again. All my tests show it is super annoying and produces near zero return.

Sales were way down this month. Just enough to buy 2 tacos. Not enough to buy a super-sized Mountain Dew. Damn. Still have lots of fun being indie. It was a great first year. I released three novels and made lots of new friends. It has been a tremendously fun and positive experience.

I’m going to release a Christmas compendium along with some e-publishing advice next month. Look for WRIGHT FORBUCKS, THE EARLY YEAR.

And put 3 dollars in your 2013 budget for BILLY GRIST, my comic fiction masterpiece…



3 thoughts on “Free Aint What it Used to Be

  1. I think some of what you have experienced with your later promotions is due to changes is Amazon’s internal search engine dynamics. They do not manage free ebooks the way they did a few months ago. You may be right that this is a market phenomenon, a perception of value per se, but I think there’s more to it. We may never truly know the inner workings of Amazon, but we do know the “free” promotions are no longer as effective as they used to be in a short term setting.

    On another note. If you have a series, and the first novel is forced into a position of “free” permanently through price matching, this novel will get downloaded consistently and expand the readership for that particular series and possibly other novels you have published as well. This phenomenon is well documented as a viable method for Indie authors to combat obscurity.

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