Why do authors give their books away for free? Have you ever wondered?
You go on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com and type in “free books” in the search field and you are provided with a list of free books. Classics, romance, erotica, children’s stories, cookbooks, etc. You can even search for free eBooks in the categories you like to read.
There are lots of reasons for an author to give away books. To reward loyal readers, to gain audience, to get on a bestsellers list, to jump-start sales of a series, to get reviews.
With inexpensive eBook readers—from dedicated reading devices like Nook and Kindle, to a multi-purpose platform like the iPad that can read most eBook formats—there has been an explosion in the demand for eBooks, and many authors ate happy to step in and help supply that demand. A lot of new authors are making their debut as self-published authors, rather than going the traditional publishing route. Now the challenge is how to get noticed, especially for new authors.
When an author gives a book away for free, it gives readers a chance to try a book from a new author without monetary risk. The author hopes, of course, that readers will like what they see and buy some of her other books.
A lot of established authors are self-publishing, too. With so many new authors and books coming into the market, even the established author needs to find ways to get the word out.
One strategy is to put a book up for free for a limited time and hope that it will hit the top 100 in free books. That gives the book momentum and it can often continue on the bestsellers list afterward because it’s garnered attention.
Giving away the first of a series is another good strategy. If readers enjoy the first of the series, hopefully they’ll be willing to pay for the other books in the series. This is a win-win for the author and the reader. The reader tries the first book for free. If they don’t like it, it has cost them nothing but their time. And since they didn’t pay for it, they don’t need to feel they must finish it because of the hard-earned cash they laid out for it. If they do like it, the author has developed a relationship with a potential loyal reader. Most authors aren’t looking to sell just one book. They want to develop a relationship with their readers. Authors love to write, and they hope to build a readership with people who love to read what they write.
An author also hopes that some of those free copies will lead to customer reviews at on-line stores. Many readers buy based on reviews by other readers, so these reviews are invaluable to an author.
So, why not treat yourself, and help out some authors too, by picking up a few free books?
Adopting these strategies myself, this coming Friday and Saturday, I am putting my story, VIRTUAL LOVE up for free at Amazon.com. (Later in the summer, I hope to make a similar offer on Barnes and Noble.) I hope you will all grab a copy. Hopefully, you’ll discover a story you love, and the fact that you “bought” a copy will help my story rise in the sales ranks. Why not pick up a few more free reads while you’re there and maybe discover some other new authors you’ll love as well?
Control is what Jerette seeks when she enters virtual reality … until she is pursued by a mysterious stranger who infiltrates her sessions, turning her deepest desires into reality.
I also have a new novella coming out on May 29th, called Debt of Honor. Check out the sexy cover!
Debt of Honor
By Opal Carew
Held captive by a domineering sheikh and made to pay for a crime she did not commit.