To be free or not to be.
Should you give your book away for free?
There are A LOT of conversations/arguments about giving bokos away for free. KDP offer 5 days every 3 months to give you book away for free. There are a lot of sites like kindle nation daily, freebooksy etc that promote free titles and you can get you book into the hands of a lot of readers.
There seem to be two main issues.
First is that it’s a race to the bottom. It’s us (self-published) vs them (traditionally published). And by making our title free or really cheap we lesson our writing in the readers eyes.
Second is that we deserved to get paid and that the algorithms to boost your book on major sites like Amazon, Barns and noble etc, like paid sales. So it’s better for you to get a paid sale over a free one.
So those are the cons.
But this is what I’ve seen.
First. Is it a race to the bottom? I’ve been going to bookshops since I was a child. Tucked away in the corner of the sci-fi and fantasy section. I read all of the hobbit in multiple trips to the bookshop when I was young! And in all that time I’ve always seen offers. Buy two get a third free. Buy one get one half price. You’ve seen the promotions. They’ve always been there. They’ve just moved online now. So for someone to say it’s a race to the bottom and that self-published titles should never be free, to me, seems crazy. You are cutting off a major source to find new readers and using tactics that book marketeers have been using for years.
Second. Yes we all deserved to get paid. But you need a readership first. How do you get a readership? It’s not through email lists and an ‘author platform,’ it’s through people reading your work and enjoying it and coming back for more! How can you do that? FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD!
Second part B. Yes the major sites like paid sales, of course they do! But, you won’t get many paid sales if you don’t have a readership or reviews. How do you get both of those? Free book downloads! Every time I’ve run a promotion for free books I’ve seen a rise in paid sales afterwards and reviews after that.
There are millions of people reading you genre, even if you think it is a niche. Giving your book away for free to 10,000 people is not going to do anything but promote you and your work.