Apr 6, 2012

F is for Free

F is for Fossil, the inspiration for the MY ZOMBIE DOG
If you've been following my blog, twitter or wireless telegraphs, you'll probably know I've release My Zombie Dog and have tried a few different promotions with this book. One of those promotions was the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) FREE day. For the three months that you sign your book solely to Kindle, you can elect up to five days to have your ebook available for FREE on Amazon. 

I have no concerns about trying different marketing/promotions with this book. It's my first release and I'm happy to learn from the experience for the next books coming out this year. I do have concerns sometimes about the bigger picture. I need to make sure the decisions I make are not positive for this one book but detrimental to the Indie ebook industry as a whole. 

My concern with free is an old philosophy I have, 'don't think you're doing your client/employer a favour by decreasing the cost of your service, in the end that is what they will think it is worth and will resent paying normal price'. I came across this article that made me worry that free, 99c, $1.99 ebooks are devaluing the book as a concept.

So what if my book is downloaded thousands of times, if it's free is that helping sales? Turns out it does. 
  • Each time someone downloads my book it lifts in the rankings, bringing it to more people's attention. MY ZOMBIE DOG reached number 2 in children's free 'Spine-chilling Horror'.
  • People download multiple books, so in future when someone is browsing a book, underneath it says Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought... and you increase the chance of your book showing up there.
  • My book received a lot of tweets and sales at regular price spiked the next day. This was my second best day of sales since release.
As a customer, for me the novelty of free books is wearing off, I don't mind paying for books, in fact I prefer to. But obviously free is still popular with a lot of readers. Perhaps it will also result in more reviews which may help sales as well. 

I'm still investigating the affect of free on the Indie book industry, but here are two articles with varying opinions:


  1. I would also think it would help when you have multiple books for sale, and a list of them at the back of your book with easy click to buy link.

    That way a free book could still lead to sales of your other books.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  2. I don't like downloading free books because I think of all those hundreds of hours that a writer has sweated over the story and for nought?? However, I downloaded Zombie Dog (haven't had a chance to read it of course) so if that helps your rankings, I feel better.

    Now my dear, have you done your homework yet?? Don't leave it til the 17th, lol!

    PS, was it Margo Kelly who you sent your first chapter to, or another Margo?


  3. If free books mean that more people are encouraged to read that must be a good thing. A newspaper left on the train may be read by another traveller who may then decide to read more on a topic. (Bit random, that;-))
    (Visiting from A-Z blogging challenge)

  4. You asked a very good question, but I think in the end, whatever you do that results in more people reading your work, the better it is for your career. I especially enjoy the "you might also like". It's been a good fit for me, so far. So I'm off to get Zombie Dog for my Kindle.
    Thanks for stopping by at Life is Good!

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

  5. I took a course that mentioned how peeps put value on items that cost a little bit more, which is why should avoid the 99cent price. Makes sense if you think about it.

  6. I'm glad to hear your free days gave your sales a boost. I haven't used mine yet, but I've seen other authors saying that the free books aren't as beneficial to carry-over sales anymore. To me, I think e-publishing is a grand experiment with all kinds of variables to tinker with.

  7. I think Free is EXCELLENT as part of an overall strategy--like you said--sales spike immediately afterward. I think it works best though, when you have several books on your shelf so giving one away leads to increased purchases of the OTHER books. I have a trilogy that isn't ready yet, but I often think i'd love to offer the FIRST free, at least for a while, and then charge more for the other two--it is like a contract--I give the readers something for free to prove it's good, then they buy the other two to reward me... or something.

  8. It's got to help just getting your name out there!
    Great post.

  9. Sounds like the program is beneficial, if you saw an increase in ranking and sales. With eBooks, it's all a learning game right now.

  10. In general I think a lot of ebooks are too expensive. If I'm only going to save $1 on an ebook I'd much rather just purchase the hard copy. I generally only buy the ebook over the hard copy if they're on sale for $5 or less.

    Blog #atozchallenge

  11. Interesting...I'm learning so much through the A to Z Challenge. I just published a book in Oct. and trying to decide whether I want to go the e-book route.

  12. I like that you're trying all this stuff out, so we can learn :-)

  13. I have no words of wisdom on e-book pricing from an author's point of view, but as a reader, I admit I love free books. Since I'm a fan of mystery and suspense, I've loaded enough of those on my Kindle to keep me reading no matter how many trips I take.

    And I assume your doggie in the picture is not a zombie? What a cutie.

  14. Interesting. This post should be very useful for KDP writers.

    And completely agree with Sarah Pearson above!

    Alana @ writercize.blogspot.com
    Found you through A to Z!