On principle, I hate the idea of giving away my books for free. Why would anyone want to give away hard work? But, over Memorial Weekend, I followed the lead of a friend and fellow author and made my ebooks free for the holiday. Here’s what happened.
First, I’d like to say that I don’t charge a lot for my ebooks. They range between $1.99 to $3.99 in price, depending on length. The print versions are a bit more expensive, but only because it costs money to print them and such. But, I haven’t sold a single book in months, so I figured, why not?
My free ebook extravaganza began on Saturday, May 26th and ended on Monday, May 28th. On Saturday, I gave away 49 copies of my books (17 copies of The Green Lady and 22 of Withered World), on Sunday, I gave away 7 copies (2 copies of The Green Lady and 5 copies of Withered World), on Monday, I gave away 9 copies (4 copies of The Green Lady and 5 copies of Withered World).
At first, all I was hoping for was to get a few more Amazon reviews. We’ll see how that goes. But, sometime in the middle of the afternoon, my friend texted me and said to check out my ratings because The Green Lady was ranked in the TOP 25 in TWO CATEGORIES in the FREE Kindle Store!
Overall the stats were as follows (transcribed because some of the images below are really hard to read):
- #14 in the category of Literary Fiction > Historical
- #25 in Historical Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
- #31 in Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
I then switched over to check out the ratings for Withered World, which fits in to YA and Dystopian lit, a much busier and more competitive category. Those stats read like this:
- #80 in Teen & Young Adult Fantasy > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age
- #91 in Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age
- #122 in Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Dystopian
So, what did I do to get these rankings beyond making the ebooks free? Not a whole lot, I’m afraid. Had I planned ahead, I would have posted about the upcoming free ebook campaign right here on my blog. But, since this was a last-minute decision and I had already written and uploaded my post for the week, I refrained. I did, however, post about it on my author page on Facebook, and mentioned it on my Twitter feed and my Instagram account. I can’t tell you whether the downloads were made by people I know, are connected to on social media, or people who just found the deal and clicked.
I’m still hoping to get some more positive Amazon reviews out of the promo, but we’ll see what happens. Mostly, it was nice just to have a little jump and some attention on my writing. It’s easy to feel invisible in the self-publishing world. There are so many people out there striving to make it as authors. It’s really tough to get noticed.
The idea of giving away my books for free is not a particularly appealing one. All artists deserve to be properly compensated for their work. But, I think the free ebook giveaway can be a very useful tool and one that I plan to use strategically again in the future. Additionally, this whole experience has made me think more seriously about exactly WHEN to release a book. Usually I just want to get it out into the world because it’s finally finished and I’ve been working on it for more than a year. But, planning around a holiday, or having pre-sales over a holiday when I am also offering the other ebooks for free might be a great tactic for getting a few more sales out the gate. We’ll see how that goes when I complete NightWind.