Chris the story reading ape has a post today talking about, amongst other things, ‘free days’ for books:
I have done a few free days of my books on Amazon, and have to agree that the chance of getting any reviews at all out of it is very low indeed.
I would say that free days are effective in two ways.
- On Amazon at least, recommendations are determined by analysing customer views and purchases (‘Customers who bought this item also bought…’). Free days are great for establishing these cross-references for new releases.
- It’s getting very common for authors who write series of books to make the first in the series permanently free. People can then try the first in the series and decide whether they want to purchase later books.
Commenting on the above post, Loretta Livingstone says,
They are a good idea when you need reviews, for a new book, but why would people pay for them when they know that you will do a Freebie Day again shortly?
Lorinda J. Taylor voices similar concerns:
The only reason why sales would pick up after a free period is if someone influential stumbled across the book during the free period and then recommended it to all their friends. It’s very unlikely, but not impossible, and so it’s a bit like playing the lottery.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the books I keep half an eye on don’t seem to have free days. They change price from time to time, and a large reduction may encourage me to buy it. If it’s less than £1 I may buy it anyway. If it’s between £1 and £2 I will hesitate to buy it. If it’s more than that… it will have to be something very special.
It’s true that lots of free books are downloaded but not read. It’s true that people wait for books to become free. I am guilty of doing both, but also sometimes I buy books and sometimes I read books. There are a huge number of books out there waiting to be read. I’m not going to buy every single book that I may one day want to read. Most of the free books languishing on my Kindle are intended to be read at some point in the unforeseeable future. For most of them I will try to leave some sort of review, whether good, bad or indifferent.
The Story Reading Ape raises another point of interest:
Very true. It’s how I shop for books, especially in bookshops. I can be seduced into other genres, but the book had better have an eye-catching cover or an intriguing title. For new authors in a flooded marketplace, it’s difficult to get noticed, and akhenkhan says:
Take a bit of advice from someone who knows, having learned the hard way, my advice to them is simply this – write a book which will grab the attention of the market.
- Don’t specialise when you are first starting out.
- Instead take note of what is selling.
- Take note of what genre is currently popular, and if you feel you can write within it, do so.
We indies have enough trouble doing our best to ignore the vicious attacks of the trolls.
Writing a book that no one wants to buy is equally annoying.
I dare say this is good advice. For myself, I’m too reactionary to write within genre conventions – which is ironic, perhaps, given my passion for vampires.