Saturday, April 6, 2013

F = Free Books on Amazon

Here are my latest theories about offering your book for free on Amazon based on my own experiences. Keep in mind my book is science fiction and this won’t necessarily be the same for all genres. Also while writing this, my focus is on Amazon. 

First of all, in order to get any exposure on Amazon you have to give away at least 2K books. The first time your book goes free you might giveaway that amount without getting any features. What may determine how many books you giveaway? I’ve found that the amount of reviews tends to impress both readers and promotional sites. For this reason, I emphasize having at least 10 reviews before going free or doing any promotion even if your book isn’t free. As for reviews, the only way to get them is to push for them. Offer free review copies on forums, book bloggers, etc, etc.

The second, third, fourth, etc, time your book goes free you won’t give away as many books unless you get a boost from one of the bigger e-book sites like E-reader News Today. I know because I’ve had some giveaways where I didn’t get a promo which resulted in only a few sales. 

Most of these promotional sites are Amazon Affiliates. The rules have been changed for these affiliates. They aren’t allowed to offer near as many free books, so the odds of getting on these sites are limited. Your chances are better if you have more reviews because you are competing with other books to get on those kinds of sites. They look at the reviews and the average stars to determine who they will feature. So again…reviews are important. 

Shortly after publishing a sequel to “Seer of Mars”, I managed to get a promo on a popular ebook site. So I set Seer of Mars to free for three days and gave away about 6,000 copies. I gained back three times the price of the ad. Copies of my first book are out there on Kindle devices everywhere with links on them that will lead to my second book on Amazon. (Always put links to your books in the beginning and ending of your Kindle books).  

Lastly, a lot of people don’t read free books or they have so many it may take years for them to get to your book. However, I’ve had enough sales of the sequel to know that many people do read the free books.


Annalisa Crawford said...

This is timely for me, because I'm doing my own Amazon promo soon - although I'm not doing it to gain reviews, sales etc. I wasn't going to do one at all, but it ties in with my birthday - so it's a present. If I get an extra review or two, I'll been super happy with that.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some do well with free books, some don't. My publisher has stated they have no plans to give away any books outside of early review copies and small promotions the authors run. (And those review and promotional copies are usually physical books.)

E.J. Wesley said...

I think your strategy and conclusions are very similar to my own experiences with free books, Cindy. Getting on the promotional sites is key.

Trisha F said...

This is great advice!

I do read free books, but not necessarily right away. I have so many books on my TBR though, that a book is quite lucky to get started by me. haha

Rinelle Grey said...

It's always great to hear other people's experiences. I agree, that getting reviews is probably the most important step. My book had a couple of reviews when I did a free promo, but I'm sure it would have done better with more, and I'm sure the promotion will be more useful when I have the sequel ready for people to buy.

I do agree that at least some people read the free books. I had several hits on my webpage after my free promotion looking at the 'extras' I'd put up and mentioned in the back of the book.

Rinelle Grey