Free Versus Paid?

Today I was just discussing with a fellow author about free kindle books through KDP. (Liz Long actually, whose interview will be here on the blog on Wednesday!) It seems an awful lot of people are making their books free through KDP’s select program, and reporting great thigns about it. But does it actually work?

I’m tempted to try it myself at the end of this week, or perhaps next week, but I never quite have the courage to press ‘okay’. Why? Is it because I don’t see why I should give away something for free when I spent so much time on it? A little perhaps, but then again I know the power of throwing a few free books people’s way; the best form of publicity is word of mouth, and a few free books could generate hundreds of sales. Is it because I’m afriad no-one will download it? Again, maybe a little, but I seem to have quite a few followers who would at least give it a go if it was free; and even I’ve been known to download something just because it was free.

I think maybe it is because it’s such a new idea. And like all ideas, you have no idea which way the wind is going to blow. Some ideas, such as Twitter, are brilliant; a fantastic way to meet other people, network, and expand to find out about you and your books.

And maybe I’m just a little bit worried the wind will blow and leave me with this face I’m pulling. 🙂

But having said all this, lots of people have put their book up for free, and found that within a few hours of Twittering, Facebooking, or blogging about it, they have attracted a huge amount of attention for their book, and sent their books downloads into the hundreds, even the thousands! Even after their promotion has ended, they continue to have great sales. Sounds almost too easy, right?

Right. It is. And this is where I have the issue. What if people simply wait to get the book free? And the author is delighted with the results, perhaps even catapulting them into the Top 100 or Top 10 lists on Kindle. But then comes the lull. They get sales afterwards, but nowhere near as many as they would have hoped for. So, in a fit of desperation (and I have seen a few authors do this), they put it up for free again!

So I think it can be a good idea as long as you are prepared to grit your teeth and see it flying off the virtual shelves for one day in order to get good reviews and word-of-mouth afterwards, and also as long as you have other ways to promote it. Make sure that you continue to do everything with your marketing, and it should work.

Well, that’s the plan anyway folks. I’ll let you know once I’ve finally decided to push that ‘okay’ button.


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