My recent promotion of Alien Bonds did pretty well. I gave away close to 2,000 Kindle copies. People often ask me, why do authors make books free? It seems like a ridiculous thing to do to some folks.
For me, there are four reasons to give away a book:
1. If it's the first book in the series, people who read it and like it might well buy the other books.
2. If people read it and like it, they might write a review, or at least rate the book. The more reviews a book has, the more likely it is to sell well.
3. Even if it's not the first book in a series, people might like the book enough to try another one by the same author, especially if the author has published similar books
4. On online sites like Amazon, giveaways get a book more online traffic and thus help with the "people who bought this also bought . . ." algorithm that sites like Amazon use to push books to buyers.
The question of reviews is really important. Not that many readers actually post reviews, but lots of people judge a book by its star rating and how many reviews it has. Right after the promo ended, a reader posted this review on Amazon:
This is a great review, even though it's not very long. It has an eye-catching, emphatic, and very flattering title, and it says what the reader liked about the book. And it's 5 stars, which does not hurt at all. By the way, you will note that all Amazon reviews have a Helpful button under them. If anyone wants to click that for this review, it's would be great! The most helpful reviews float to the top of the list.