Why I’m giving away free books

If you go to my Amazon page, Kobo page or GooglePlay page (or others), you will see that a number of my books are free. What you’ll see there will depend a bit on your geographical region, with Kobo the most reliable in whether or not a book is actually free when I want it to be.

People (especially traditionally-published authors) have other expressed dismay about this. BUT! They will say, Aren’t you devaluing your work by giving it away? You worked hard for these books. You should get paid for them. But you see, I am being paid for them, because giving away books means that I’ll sell more books. Usually, the free books are first in series or short works related to series. Think of the free book as sample. To appreciate the full work, you’ll need to buy the rest of the series. This works magic.

I’ll illustrate this with my tale of 3D software. There is a software package called 3DMax, that’s hideously expensive. It’s pro-level software and I would never buy it without being thoroughly familiar with what it does. There are also a couple of cheaper options that do a really decent job on a basic level. One of these is DAZ Studio. This software used to cost about $400, and I would also have to think hard about if I wanted to buy it. I would definitely not buy it on a whim or just to see if I liked it.

About two years ago, the makers of the software decided to give it away for nothing. Go have a look. It’s still free. It’s awesome.

With the package, you get some models, but not many. You have to purchase them, but now you’re familiar with the software and you can see why. I have since purchased a lot of 3D models. Not only that, but I’ve also purchased Terragen, another 3D modelling program that has a trial free option. I’ve purchased Photoshop and I’ve purchased a drawing tablet. All because the DAZ software is free.

This is how free books work. They draw you in,and if you like it, there is more. By that time you won’t mind paying for it. Currently, these books of mine are free in all or some places (hover to see where it’s free, click to go to the book’s page). They’re free for longer periods. At some point, they’ll probably go back to paid.

Watcher’s Web: This is one of my oldest books, and the one on which I’ve spent the most money, but now that the series is completed, making the first book free is paying off big time.

Fire & Ice: This has been free for a while and will probably get another boost when I start on the second trilogy.

Innocence Lost: I’ll be completing book 3 later this month, so making this free draws more readers into the series that’s still growing.

Shattered World Within: You can read this for free on the Giganotosaurus site, so why not make it free elsewhere?

Why different prices for different titles? Because it’s not easy to make your book free everywhere. Also, different things work on different platforms, and I try to work out what works best for each platform. Some platforms, like Kobo, don’t work at all for cheap books and I’m not sold on the free thing there either. Some platforms will also discount of their own accord, so it’s virtually impossible to have the same price on all platforms.

Why I’m giving away free books was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

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One comment on “Why I’m giving away free books

  1. Pingback: Self-Pub 101: Lessons Learned (Part 2)

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