Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Experimenting with Free

One of the beauties of digital distribution is that you can give stuff away, at little or no cost to yourself. If you're trying to promote a series of books, reducing the price of the first to 99c - or zero - can hook new fans and increase sales of the whole series.

So, what's my experiment? Right now, Hal Spacejock book one is a free download on, Smashwords, B&N (Nook) and iTunes

Overnight it hit #1 on Amazon's science fiction category, and #2 in humo(r). They maintain separate lists for paid & free books, but there's a kicker ... the free and paid tables are displayed side by side on Amazon's bestseller pages.

Gaining exposure is the toughest challenge most writers face. If you're prepared to give away the first book in a series, or perhaps a short story or two, it could be a cost-effective way of promoting all of your published work.

Has anyone else tried free? If so, how did it work out for you?

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Satima Flavell said...

I certainly intend to do so, Simon, when I have the series ready to upload in full, or nearly so. I don't think there's much point in putting up a freebie until more work is ready to follow it.

Simon Haynes said...

I agree, and not until you've exhausted all other avenues. It's much better to generate interest off the back of word of mouth, reviews and actual sales for real actual money.

On the other hand it's six years since Hal Spacejock was published by Fremantle Press, and five of those years were spent NOT offering an ebook version in case it threatened overseas rights sales.

Now my focus has shifted, and the long-term future for Hal Spacejock is shorter ebook editions, more often, with a paperback release after any first-edition typos have been found and squished.