I know there are a lot of heated discussions over whether giving away your book for free is a good idea or not. I get it. I do. A lot of time, effort, emotion, and MONEY goes into the production of a book and by giving it away for free, then how is any of that possibly recouped? Why give away something that took years to create? And isn't it true that most things that are given away for free end up being utter crap?
On one hand, it can totally look like a dumb move for any author. Every author would love to make a living from their writing. Yes, we love to write ya-da, ya-da, ya-da, but if a writer could bring home the bacon by doing something they love to do, then all the better. I doubt any author would say, "No, don't give me that nice wad of cash. I don't want your millions. I do this simply for the joy alone. That is payment enough." (If you know some author who would say this, then look them in the eye and yell, "LIAR!" You may get punched in the face, but there is always the satisfaction of knowing you are right).
Unfortunately, few authors truly live off their writings alone. Even well-established authors. Yes, there are the exceptions, but those are few and far between (We hate those guys. Just kidding Kudos to them). So, if an author isn't making any money with their writing, then why in the world would they then give away what they've written. Doesn't that defeat the point? No, because it's hard to make a name for yourself in a world where there are LITERALLY a kabillion authors trying to do the same thing (yes, "literally" is used in jest and the word "kabillion" isn't a real word, but you catch my drift). Writing and getting your name out there is FREAKIN' hard! It is.
For me, I knew I had a a pretty good book on my hands (not to toot my own horn or anything... okay, who am I kidding. I'm tooting it). It had won several awards and the reviews that came rolling in were all favorable. But I could hardly sell it. A few here and a few there, but that was about it. The rest of the books in the series fell into oblivion, and I turned my face to the heavens and shook my fists, "Why? Why me, evil book god in the sky?"
I felt as though I had done everything I should have, but none of it seemed to quite work for me. But, once I had the entire series written (I wouldn't suggest making your books free unless you have a completed series or several books under your belt first), I spoke with my publisher and said drop WANTED: Dead or Undead to perma-free. Let's do this thing.
What did I have to lose? Not a thing. Giving it away for free was WAY better than letting it sit and not sell.
So we did it. We dropped it to free, advertised it on a few sites, and BAM it took off! I was thrilled to see it being downloaded by thousands and thousands of readers and to see it climb the charts (number one in western horror, baby). It was exciting to see the other books in the series being sold, but more than any of that, was all of the new reviews that came in, the emails I received, and the instant messages that started popping up. New fans! YES!! Totally worth it for that alone. Check out this review:
By Debra A Higgins - See all my reviews Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Wanted: Dead or Undead (Zombie West) (Kindle Edition) Wow!!
Will I recoup the $$ I had spent to create WANTED: Dead or Undead, I think so, but I'm not too worried about it if I don't. Are most free books crap? Yes and no. There are some WONDERFUL free books out there, but you're going to have to do a lot of digging around to find them. That's the nature of the business, as is with most everything in life.
Of course, when you give your book away for free there is a great chance that some negative reviews will come in too. That's the nature of the beast, especially when you do a blanket marketing where you're targeting everybody and not just those within your select market. It happens, but even so, I wouldn't change a thing. It was a good move for me and for this series. Will it maintain it's momentum? I'd like to hope so, but for now, I'm satisfied with the results and I believe in my book. I think most people will like it--even if they don't like zombies or westerns.
I love it when I can make a fan out of someone who wouldn't normally read zombie westerns. Totally worth it.
What do you think? Would you give away your book for free why or why not? Have you found any awesome freebies out there, and if so, please share a link to them. I'm always looking for a great read--and saving some dollars while giving new authors a chance is a great thing.