Friday, September 16, 2016

Free Books or Not?

As the eBook has increased in popularity, it has been matched by a proliferation of Internet sites that offer you FREE books. To get these FREE books, you must subscribe to the site. This usually costs nothing to you but your e-mail address. 

How do these sites work? How are they able to get you the books for FREE? Are all the books offered FREE?





Many of these books are FREE to you, the reader. Other books are discounted. You'll find books listed anywhere from FREE to $3.99.

Rarely, you'll find a book listed at a higher price. It is usually one that is traditionally published. We, the authors, pay dearly to place the books on the listings. That is how the site makes its money and is able to get you the FREE book. 
Let’s say that I want to  draw readers to my Daniel’s Fork series. I choose the first title in the series, and I run a FREE promo on Amazon for 1 day.





I book the promo day on a popular service such as Ereader News Today. The Ad can cost from $30 to $135 on Ereader for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.
A promo on BookBub, the most sought-after and successful promo site for eBooks, can run as high as $1800 dollars  for one day, depending on the genre and price of the book.

A cozy mystery being downloaded for FREE will cost the author $458 at BookBub for one day’s promo. There are many sites that cost a lot less but are not as effective.

On the FREE day, the promo site places my book on its newsletter and sends an email to all its members showing that my book is FREE on that day. It will post the book on its website also. Of course, my book is one of dozens featured  that day.
As a subscribed member, you are notified about the Free and Discounted books being featured. Using such services, you may download hundreds of free books a year.
The beauty of these sites is that they send you an email featuring many books on promo and the links to them. All you do is click and download. Below is a partial screenshot of an email I received from BookBub  this week.


This email featured twenty four books on promo. Most were priced at $0.99 to $1.99, but THREE were FREE!

Why would authors pay to give away their books? Simply because hope springs eternal.

Every author hopes that if you read that first book, you’ll fall madly in love with the characters and the author’s writing. You will then buy all his or her other books.

This strategy, one which a few years ago produced many self-published best sellers, worked extremely well for a while. I myself discovered favorite authors Monique Martin and C.L. Bevill when I read their "first in a series" for free a few years ago.

Presently, the proliferation of the Free book has produced a generation of readers who want to read only for free. They scope the sites daily, downloading every free book they find. They rarely buy.

Some download books they have no intention of ever reading, the virtual hoarders of the eBook age. An interesting post on Good E Reader reports that Kobo has found that 60% of its sold eBooks are never opened.

The more expensive a book is, the more likely it is to opened. If the book is FREE, it sits at the growing pile of unopened, hoarded books. 

The problem goes even deeper. Some readers ask for free review copies they will never review. Some ask for Free gift codes from an author meaning to spend the code in another author's title.

Last year, I hosted a Giveaway of Strongheart's Woman printed edition, giving away four copies at Goodreads. Within days, two of the copies were offered for sale as new at a fraction of the book's selling price. This forced Amazon to lower the price of my book across the board to match it!


     

Logic tells you that writers can not work for free anymore than Macdonald's workers or teachers or nurses can. As a result, many seasoned indie authors are no longer offering free novels. I believe that number will keep growing.

There will probably remain a small group who continues the practice, especially new authors just entering the writing market. Those still have not learned the lesson that if you want your work valued, you must place a value on it first.

I will no longer give away free novels. I have a short story,  Vampire, Not Monster which I give away to anyone willing to sign up to my VIP list. I have it listed as Free for a time at various seller links in order to attract readers to Angel's Guardian, my latest full novel.



I also offer samples of three chapters from my full novels at Instafreebie. I do promos on the sites mentioned, usually at a price of $0.99 or $1.99 but no longer for FREE.  

Now, you might ask, where are these sites that feature FREE and discounted books?

Here are the links to some you might like, but remember: sponsor the authors you like by buying their work. You would never work for free. Why should they? 







http://bookgoodies.com/mega-submit/

http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/for-readers

https://choosybookworm.com/free-ebooks/