Why Give Away a Free eBook?

post by Michelle Griep

Unless you’re self-pubbed, authors don’t have a say in when freebie promos happen. They just do. Oh, I suppose the publishing marketing gurus have a grand plan for when and why, but to the average Joe Schmo writer like me, it’s a mystery akin to why a bird poops on my car right after I’ve washed it.

The first time one of my books rocketed into cyberspace with a $0 price tag dangling from the corner, I admit I was tempted to pull out my cranky pants from my closet and shimmy into them (cranky pants are notoriously tight…enhancing that pinchy feeling that really makes one snarl). Giving away my hard work for free does not go a long way toward paying my mortgage or even my morning cup of java.

Do you ever see a plumber fixing a toilet for nothing? Sorry for the butt-crack visual, but my point is that the usual routine is that a worker works and the end result is a paycheck. Newsflash: that doesn’t happen when you give your work away.

So why in the world do it? Several reasons, actually. . .

It gets your name out there.
I don’t care how great your mother thinks you are, the fact is that not everyone is familiar with your sweet storytelling skills. A reader is a bajillion times more likely to download a book from an author they don’t know than fork over some cash for it. Okay, so maybe not an entire bajillion, but a whole freaking lot.

You’re not really losing money.
It only seems like it. I know that sounds like a bunch of smoke and mirrors, but consider this. . . if someone who never would’ve otherwise read your book downloads your digital data and reads it without paying, you don’t lose anything since that reader was not going to buy it in the first place. Savvy?

It ups reviews.
Word of mouth is the name of the game, baby. The more people who have read your book, the more likely they are to write a review about it, spreading the word. Face it. People are lemmings. If a reader sees a pack of furry furry mammals running toward a particular author, they are going to join the herd.

Increased sales.
If a reader really goes all gushy on a story, they are more likely to purchase a print copy to display that little trophy on their bookshelf. Also, free ebooks that do well stand a good chance to continue riding the crest of that download wave after the promotion is over, increasing sales. A great way to really hang ten is to follow-up that freebie with a sale.

Now then, if you happen to be on the reading-end of the scale and are looking to fill up your Kindle on the cheap, HERE’s the link to Amazon’s current freebies.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.