I visited a new place this weekend, Johnsons of Old Hurst, and, considering it was so close, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been there before. It was fabulous. It was a working farm with several major differences. It had a farm walk that went off into a woodland walk with scattered models of animals to find and a tropical house with crocodiles and alligators, snakes and turtles, among many other unusual reptiles. There were also all sorts of other exciting animals to see like wallabies and meerkats as well as an extensive play area.
And, it didn’t cost a penny to get in.
Once I’d done plenty of walking and viewing there was a terrific tearoom with the best slice of Death by Chocolate cake I’ve had in a long time and a wonderful farm shop where I bought many fine things. 😀
Why am I telling you this? Well it’s because during this visit I realised they have the same philosophy as me. Give something away to everyone and some people will support you by buying the things you are selling. Which leads me onto books.
Now I know there are some authors who are completely against giving away their work, and I don’t blame them. A huge amount of work, and money, goes into writing and publishing a book. But I am an unknown author and in such a crowded market it is a lot to expect a reader to take a chance on my work rather than a top of the book lists, household name of an author. It is therefore a perfectly valid marketing technique to make a book free. The intention being that some readers will like your work and will be willing to invest in the next book, and hopefully the one after that! Ideally therefore you need to have more than one book published before you start making one free.
Last week I wrote a post about having books exclusive or wide which you can read HERE if you want to. But if authors have their books exclusive with Amazon and in KDP Select they have the chance to make their books free for 5 days in every 90. If they have their books wide they can make them free whenever they want and permanently if they choose. This is called permafree and if you make your books free on another platform Amazon will usually price match on their site either automatically or with a bit of a nudge by email.
Making a book free can be hugely effective. I can honestly say it has turned my author career around. Now, I’m not saying I’m selling loads and loads of books but I am selling books every day and I wasn’t before I made my first in series free.
So how do you get the word out about your free book?
If you’re restricted to the five days, then authors usually stack promotions on a variety of book sites to make the most of those days. As well as spreading the word to mailing lists, via blogs, and on all the socials. If your books are wide you have the flexibility to play with free on the various sites and see what works for you and you can set up promotions on book sites whenever it suits you.
I have two books permafree, well, one novel and one short story, and I run BookBub and Amazon ads to the free novel constantly. It might seem odd to pay for ads to give a book away for free but if it’s the first in a series and you get enough of a read through to your other books (you have to do a bit of maths to calculate this) then I’ve found that is the way to go.
How about you, do you give your work away for free? Or are you totally against doing this? Do you think making a book free means its rubbish (it is one theory I’ve heard!)? Or have you discovered a new favourite author because you tried their free work?*
*I did this recently when I downloaded Verity by Colleen Hoover for free. Absolutely loved it! I reviewed it last week HERE.