Free as a strategy to make money

When authors give away books for free, it’s to get attention. Not in a bad way; without attention we can’t sell books and without sales, free books, free ebooks, giveawaysmost of us won’t have time to write as many books as we can.

If it sounds too good to be true it usually is

That’s a great rule to live your life by, but let’s be honest, a free ebook isn’t an email scam – although feel free to send me all your banking information. A free ebook is something you can grab and drop as fast as you like.

Why isn’t the book free everywhere?

Here’s the thing, most of the retailers don’t like free books because there’s a cost to transmitting an ebook. We authors have to find ways to get the price spread around. So, the first thing we have to do is make a choice. Amazon has a program that allows 5 free days every calendar quarter at a price. We can only list the book on Amazon while we participate. For some of us that’s not the best option.

The game we have to play is simple. Set the book as free where we can. Now Smashwords has a great program – they love free ebooks. They also distribute out to the major retailers so over time the book gets price matched at Barnes & Noble, Apple and Sony – an a few other retailers. Then eventually Amazon matches the price.

It helps to have someone rat out the author for a lower price, and I’ve got that going on. So soon I’ll have 3 permanently free books at Amazon.

If you need to make money to keep writing why on earth would you give away one ebook let alone three?

To be honest, it’s to get you to buy the next book in the series – and the next and …

It’s worked for me as a reader. I have four or five new series that I read – devour – because the first book was free. Not all of them are indie publishers either. In fact the first book that hooked me this way was Medicus and that’s a traditionally published one. I’ve read all the other books in the series to-date.

So where can I get the free ebooks?

Hubris, everywhere it’s on sale except Sony

Off Track, not yet on Amazon or Sony

Imperative, not yet on Amazon or Sony

As you can see, Sony and Amazon are a bit behind the times. If you need the format for your Kindle or Sony Reader, just get them from Smashwords, they have all the formats available, you’ll just need to manually add to your Kindle or Sony Reader.

The bottom line

I’m not trying to scam or spam – maybe addict you to the stories – I want you to try out the stories. I’ll post on Twitter and Facebook when the last vendors get the price matched, but that’s it.

Have a great weekend everyone.