TO FREE, OR NOT TO FREE.
THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Over the past year, I have noticed many different trends and marketing strategies of Indie authors (including myself) to get the word out and increase our readership. Some have had great success, the majority of us are in a log jamb scrambling to hit as many sites and and blogs and threads and bookstore sites. Others have used fliers, shirts, posters, bookmarks, coffee-cups and other promotional devices. But one the that stands out if the freebie program whether it be through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords, Goodreads or even the Google Bookstore (I will admit, I have no books on Google. I found their site confusing, frustrating and very limited support from non-existent customer service).
Should we offer our works for free? Good question. Is there a definitive answer. Not that I can see at this time. I know I have over 4000 titles snatched-up during the promos. Sounds great right? How many reviews or comments have the give aways provided? Take a seat and take a deep breath. .001% have submitted reviews. Yep, that would be FOUR! Look, I'm not against doing a promotion but if you think it will translate into a slew of reviews and accolades, do this. Unlike Amazon, Goodreads shows what readers downloaded the book. Take a real close look at some of those numbers. 1000 to 3000 in the TBR column. Wait a minute, did I see that right? One to three thousand TBR? Hm, not encouraging. I guess its human nature to want something free. I know I do, however if I can't use it ,I'm not picking it up just in case I might use it in the next the ten years or on a rainy day. Personally, I only download a free book if I know I have the time to read the book and thank the author for the opportunity to preview their work. I believe it's only fair.
Okay, should you offer your hard work for free. Absolutely! It does get your name out, but if you are looking for overnight success and gratification, stick with the other promotional items. At least someone will think of you when they are drinking from the coffee mug.