Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Why do I give away books?

 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. 

A caveat for other authors:

 There is one drawback to making a book free, and that is a lot of free books never get read. In effect, the free status lets the reader forego the evaluation of  "Is this a book I will enjoy reading?" As there is no cost, a lot of folks click the "Buy" button but either never open the book or open it and then abandon it a few pages in. 

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