I’m going to admit a couple things here.

1) I had never purchased a book until 4 years ago when my friend had her debut novel released. (I was a library kind of gal.)
2) I STILL don’t own an e-reader. I know … scandalous right? Because I can’t afford an iPad, I vascillate between a Nook and a Kindle and people who own either “think they’re the best”. Anyway, I’m currently reading e-books on my computer.

So what’s the point of “true confession Friday”? Well, I have no idea how the buyer of digital books thinks. Are they looking for bargain books and willing to try new authors and genres? Are they still only buying their auto-buy authors? And what about freebies?

Yeeeeah, what about freebies? Do thousands of people just automatically download all free books on Amazon, Kindle or Smashwords thinking they may read them and if they don’t … whatever? Or do they pick up the free book by an author thinking they may find a new-to-them author? Does that in turn entice them to go buy more books by that author?

Or are so many books being offered for free by so many authors that readers have become leary of the quality of the writing? With the instant availability of publishing to anyone with a computer the writing/story can range from fabulous to OMG! is English the author’s first language? Leaving the reader to wonder if the author knows the definition of “edit”.

Is a reader more likely to read a book if they have to pay even a minimal amount for it? Say $.99? Does even that small amount of outlay give value to the purchase?

Of course I’m asking because I currently have two sexy romantic suspense novels in my “Tilling Passions” series up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Blind Her With Bliss and Deceive Her With Desire. And now that I’m very close to getting the third book in this series published, I’m thinking about my pricing strategy.

Does giving away the first book entice people to read the second and third in the series? Or will it sit unread in the libraries of Nooks and Kindles across the country, never to be opened? I have no idea. This whole self-publishing seems to be a big fat roll of the dice all the way around.

So what about you? When you see a book on B&N or Amazon for free do you assume certain things? Do your feelings change if it’s $.99? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I’m currently BEYOND confused on what is best at this point.

0 Responses to More Value if You Pay?

  • Authors who’ve offered free books swear by the practice. It’s a way to promote your other titles because it introduces readers to your writing in a risk-free way and promotes sales of other titles. If readers hate it, they didn’t waste any money. If they love it, they’ll seek out your other books.

    • Delaney – Several of my friends have offered free books, but their results were very mixed. A couple got tons of downloads, but no appreciable sales on the other books in the series. Others saw a small up-tick, but nothing that would make them jump on the bandwagon again.

      But I agree with you, logic says … give the first one for free and the readers will follow to the others.

      Thanks for weighing in.

  • This is a tough issue. I’m also beyond confused, so my comments are in the “My 2 cents” category.

    I hate to see authors “undervalue” their work. So much time and personal energy goes into each book we write, and selling a book for 99 cents seems to send the message that it’s not worth much. In terms of what it “costs” the author, even a bad book is probably worth more a buck. On the other hand, if the book is just “sitting there” in your computer or under your bed, doing nothing, why not put it up for 99 cents and get out of it whatever you can? But authors and aspiring authors should not sell anything that has not been well edited. That doesn’t do any of us any good.

    At the same time, readers are out there looking for bargains for all kinds of reasons. I, too, grew up loving to visit the library and come home loaded with books. And I know so many people, including other writers, who’ll buy an e-book for 99 cents just because the cost is minimal. Just because they got it “cheap.” Whether they read them or not, that’s another matter.

    I believe that word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tools. I give away a lot of books (mostly through contests), but only to people who seem interested and will probably read it. I sometimes ask the person to post a review somewhere if they like the book.

    My 2 cents (Is that a bargain, or what?)

    • Ann – Yes, your comment was a bargain indeed! LOL! And I hear you on the “under valuing”. It’s so hard to give work that took months to complete away for free … on the other hand … it’s so hard for books to stand out among the masses if an author deosn’t do something. Word of mouth only works if readers read your story.

      I don’t think it’s asking too much for my book to go viral all on it’s own. LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by, Ann.

  • No and no. I will price according to the length of the book. Freebies have not worked for me in the past so therefore I’m not using them in the future. My books are already under-priced considering the amount of work I put into them.

    • Julia – That’s how I feel. I don’t want to get paid nothing for all of my hard work. There’s the joy of writing and then there’s the joy of buying groceries.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I think you are among the majority of authors who found giving away a free copy of one of their books didn’t get them any sales on the others. Sometimes people are just looking for a freebie, not a new author.

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