The Free Book

So, I wrote a post last week about how I think of self publishing as a hobby (for me! Lots of people treat it like a business). So because it’s a hobby therefore my novel is sort of like a toy that I can play with. So last weekend I dropped the price down to zero dollars, just for the heck of it.

I didn’t announce it anywhere. I did no marketing, I didn’t even post it on facebook, I just quietly went in and scheduled the price change for November 22nd to the 23rd. And then I sat back to see what would happen.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O9GWY3C

I’ll cut to the end: I got 35 purchases of the free book.

Before this I had 4 paid downloads during the entire life if its availability. I had read a little bit about offering free books on amazon, and from what I could tell it seemed there is a certain strata of kindle owners who will download anything that’s free, and it seems I must have attracted a handful of those people.

I’ll admit it was fun watching my sales “soar” upward. I know 35 downloads doesn’t seem like much, but this does represent an 800% increase in sales, and besides now a bunch of strangers own my book, which is its own reward. Of course these people may never read it. They got it for free after all. I’m sure they’ll feel no buyer’s remorse if they deleted it right away. But I’m still overcome with this sense of victory, as if I’ve just bamboozled these people into owning something I made.

Visibility on Amazon is tied into sales. I’ve read that at one time “free sales” counted into this algorithm, but not anymore, so I probably haven’t gained much ground with this experiment. Most other e-book authors whose blogs I’ve read don’t advise giving your book out for free unless you have other books that are not free. Like, I could give away the first installment in a series so that people will be compelled to plop down some cash on the sequels. But like I said, I’m not taking this very seriously.

Besides I’m unemployed in a town where I have no friends, I gotta stay busy with something.

Also, I’m hoping, and this is a blind foolish hope, but I’m hoping that some of the people who downloaded it are actually within my target audience: people who like fantasy. I say this just because I don’t know very many people who do, and I’d be glad if someone who actually likes the genre gets some pleasure out of it. Because I don’t necessarily want to reap riches. Really I’d just like it if someone else enjoyed my hobby as much as I do.

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