Do giving your books away for FREE really help?
In my experience, yes! I did a free promo for The Unwilling Bride over the 4th of July and I sold 252 copies this month. My sales last month were 93. I used the free sales to boost sales and it worked.
Do I think that giving away 3,276 copies of my book was worth it? Yes.
Did I lose money? It all depends on how you look at it. It’s true that I made no money on the free sales but look at how much my paid sales went up. Also, you have to realize that the other reason for using free days is to spread the word about your book. This is my first novel and I’m still building a fan base and platform.
137 of those sales were in the UK, 9 in Denmark and 1 in Italy. I have reached other countries by making my novel free. This can have a big impact later on. The people who downloaded it in the other countries can spread the word if they liked the book. As a new author, word of mouth is my biggest marketing tool.
But you have to use the free days wisely. When you join Amazon Select you are allowed 5 free days over a 3 month period. If you use all 5 days at once the sales dwindle in the last few days. Putting your book up for one day doesn’t allow enough time for readers to locate and download the book. I find it best to use the free days at 2-3 day intervals.
It’s also best to use them over holidays or other special occasions. For example I had a free promo over St. Patrick’s Day because my character, Caitlin is Irish. My biggest promo was over Valentine’s Day because my book is a romance. Try to coordinate the promos with something in your novel.
There is a lot of controversy over whether free days are good or bad. Some authors feel that they have too much time and effort into it to give the book away. That is a valid point. But if you are trying to get your work seen and build a platform then using free promos is the best way to achieve that.
After six months, I have taken The Unwilling Bride off of Select and put it back up on all other markets. However, I’m planning on putting my new novel on Select at some point. Some authors like to put their new novels on Select right away, but I’m going to put Unforgiving Ghosts on all markets first, and later use Select. My motive for this move is to allow everyone to buy my new book. When sales start dwindling then I’ll put it on Select to use the free days to boost sales.
Of course every author has their own strategies and this is what I believe is best . But, I also believe that God is in control and it’s His will and timing as to how many sales I make. I’m just thankful for each sale I get!