Some people don’t agree with authors posting free books and I get it. I’ve had mixed feelings through the years about it as well, but I also like the idea of offering books for free to readers. It’s more than simply giving people a freebie – it can also be valuable for your writing platform. I actually posted on Twitter a week back about how I love finding a hidden gem through a free book deal. Especially if you’re budgeting, it’s exciting to find a free book in a genre you like. Someone commented saying that authors put so much time and work into their writing that people should pay for it if they want to read it. Talk about raining on my parade! That said, I see where he’s coming from. However, free book deals can be valuable to authors.
What is the value in offering a free book?
It can boost your readership. It’s a no brainer that selling your books for free can attract new readers. I noticed I tend to get more followers on Twitter when I post a free book deal. Some of those followers will be new readers.
It can boost your book’s rating on Amazon. Free book sales count toward your book’s popularity. Some authors give away their books in hopes of increasing their rating on Amazon. It helps!
It can give you more book reviews. Sometimes, you sell 200 free copies and only get one or two reviews out of it, but those are reviews you wouldn’t otherwise have had. You will get people uploading it just for the sake of it being free, but there will also be people who are keen enough to rate and review it, too.
It boosts morale with your readers. Hey, these are the people who get you paid. It’s nice to give people freebies after they’ve supported your work. Some people might be broke or have no budget for entertainment – a free book can really make someone’s day. It’s nice to give things to people – as it’s hard to find anything for free anymore.
It can actually boost your paid sales. I notice whenever I do a free book sale, I get more sales after the deal is finished. I’ve written multiple books, so a lot of readers will buy one or two of your other books after they’ve sampled the one you gave away for free.
So, there we have it! Don’t think there’s no value in free book deals. They can actually help boost your readership! 🙂 Have you ever posted your book for free?
I met a writer last week at my work. She just published her book. I asked her. Was she pushing her book on the media. she told me. My publisher is doing this. I told her. You must attempt to see books, more readers, more reviews. Hard work dear Sara to sell books. I liked the information, you shared.
Thank you. 🙂 Yes every sale I’ve made has been because I’ve promoted it. They don’t come by chance very often.
I understand dear Sara and you are welcome. This year I will publish some poetry and story. I will put effort into this.
That’s amazing! 🙂 I wish you the best with it.
I must deep edit. My weakness dear Sara. I was in some good writing workshops before the coronavirus. Thank you.
Ooh excellent. That’s awesome you joined some groups for writing. I’m sure your work is great. I’d love to buy your books when they are out. 🙂
I totally agree. I give my books away for free as ARCs in order to get reviews and to have exposure. I have discounted my books at times, although it is hard to, as t feels that giving away books or offering them at $0.99 always feels that you are cheapening your hard work. All in a days work as an indie author.
That’s very true. It’s a fine line between exposure and cheapening all the hard work you’ve done. ARC copies are a great idea! 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting. ❤
This is such a loaded topic… as you say it’s not black and white. I’ve heard the same argument about second hand books shops and charity shops etc.
Yikes that’s a good post about the second hand shops!
This is the thing…
[…] Sara Flower Kjeldsen’s blog, “The Value of Free Books.“ […]
I’ve heard the comments about hard work must be paid for plenty of times. There is truth to it, but that’s not always the motivation for the creator. Free software runs the Internet, and there are legions of people collaborating and donating their time and effort to improving the software.
There are plenty of people who do something out of love. Have you ever had a co-worker who bakes just so they can see someone smile at work? That time and effort, but the goal is not monetary.
What about painters, sculptors, poets, and writers who perform their craft as a hobby? I fall under this particular group and prefer that my stories get read rather than make a profit. Hopefully, my free works made someone’s day.
That being said, there are points of caution. Free works tend to get more negative reviews. Articles I’ve seen on the matter claim that making a purchase means most will defend their choice. Free absolves them of that.
Free can be costly for the author. Cover design and editing do add up, so it’s not always possible to do.
I guess it would be nice if we some avoided making absolute rules and statements and realised there is a spectrum. 😘
Mhm black and white rules should never be applied to writing or any type of art.
My thoughts exactly! 😘
Good points highlighting that trade-off when discounting for a set limited time – attract more exposure and reviewers or cheapen the book you’ve worked so hard on? I haven’t tried the free Advanced Reader Copy route yet – may be worth trying it out in future! 🙂
Yes. I get the biggest boost in sales after running 99 cent or free deals. That’s what works for me. If I don’t do that it’s just $10/month or less at regular price lol
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