Lately, I’ve taken to watching my Amazon numbers again. So when I got the Indie Life reminder, I knew what I wanted to write about.
Free books. They benefit readers, but do authors gain anything?
Yesterday, I read Diantha Jones’ take on the same subject and I gotta say, I agree with much of what she said here. I do admit that when I download free books, I don’t read them immediately. But then, I’ve trained myself not to download books simply because they’re free. I’ll download if the story appeals to me or if it’s written by writer-friend and I intend to review.
But to get back to those numbers I mentioned, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. I made one of my books perma-free on Amazon. It’s been in the number one spot both as a paid and free book. It has some good reviews and some that make me cringe to read them. However, I understand that reading is subjective. I also know the quality of the stories. I used them in that collection, knowing they had medalled in local competitions.
Many authors see the value of giving away the first novel in a series and I understand the how and why of it. However, what stops me from giving away anything else for free is the trend I’ve noticed from reviews of my own books, as well as other writers. The most biting comments come from folks who download for free. I’ve been given one star reviews by people who don’t like short story collections, even though the cover of the book subtitle has ‘stories’ in it. I’ve gotten some from people who are not into revenge stories, having downloaded a book entitled Don’t Get Mad...Get Even. Go figure.
Anyway, one positive thing I’ve noticed over the last few months is that the second volume of short stories has started selling. When I look at the ‘Customers Who Bought Items in Your Recent History Also Bought...’ section, I realize that people are reading my other books too. I’ve concluded that they took the plunge based on having read the free story collection, which works for me.
I’ve always known that putting my work on Amazon would mean taking what comes with the territory. After being in the top ten for ages, that book is now paying dividends, so yeah, giving away a free ride has been worth it for me.
What about you?
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