As most of you know, I've decided to dive head first into the indie pool. Eek! Since making that decision, I've been obsessively absorbing information about the process. My obsession has made me a lurker at Susan Kaye Quinn's blog. It's totally packed with valuable information about indie publishing.
One of the areas I'm curious about is marketing and free books. I mean, I don't want to be totally annoying and scream to every uninterested passerby, "MY BOOK! MY BOOK!" Like those creepy guys in Las Vegas who pass out fliers about strip clubs, even to moms and dads who are walking hand in hand with their little boys (I swear, it happened to us). I'd rather be the happy sign twirler who's jammin' to Madonna's Vogue while doing those really cool dance moves (strike a pose!). I'm not a seller.
Susan's post Pricing Your Ebook caught my attention. She mentioned the book WOOL, by Hugh Howey, and how it's permanently free on Amazon (download it here). I'd heard about Hugh Howey's amazing journey, and was curious about his book. (Read the Wall Street Journal story here. It's crazy cool)
Using Susan's link, I downloaded Wool. It's free, so what did I have to lose? Nothing. I read Book One. I was riveted. After finishing, I immediately downloaded the Wool Omnibus Edition. My son downloaded Book One. He was riveted. He immediately downloaded Book Two. Howey now has two loyal fans in our household...all because Wool was free.
It seems to me that pricing Book One in a series low or free is a great idea (upon subsequent releases). Same with pricing a book low or free when we have other books for sale. It invites readers to give us a try. At least that's what I'm learning.
I'm still figuring all of this stuff out, but here are the main points I keep seeing over and over again:
- Story matters most. When we tell a great story, and people genuinely love it, we won't need to pester people to buy the book. They'll want to.
- Get the word out. If no one knows about our book, they can't buy it. If we honestly believe it's worthy, we should feel comfortable telling others about it. I'm still going to be shy about this, but I'll work on it :)
- Free works best when there are other books to lead buyers to. For instance, Susan has made Open Minds, book 1 of her Mindjack Trilogy, permanently free. As she points out, it's 24/7 marketing for her work. I can see the logic in this.
Have you heard the Wool story? Not only the story story, but the author's story? Have you downloaded free books, then returned to buy books from that author? Have you downloaded free books, then realized that author's style isn't what you like? Do you have other ideas for how to make free books work for you? Please share!