Graham Writer

Musings of an author.

Free books, good or bad?

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free booksA lot has been written by other about Amazon’s KDP select, some good and some bad. Authors are critical of the organisation’s strategy of dominating the market by demanding and getting exclusivity. I don’t plan to enter that debate it’s a pointless conversation and something that I cannot influence, although I do have an opinion. What I’m more interested in, is how I can leverage my books to increase sales and it’s an interesting area for discussion.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned promoting The Welsh Folly Book for free through amazon’s KDP select offering with the purpose of encouraging readers to buy my other books. 196 free copies of The Welsh Folly Book were downloaded and although there was a slight uplift in paid for sales immediately afterwards, it was nothing to shout about. I draw two conclusions from the experiment. Firstly, there are a class of people out there who only download free books and have no intention of paying for anything. Typing in free books for kindle, this morning, produced a list of 46,160 on offer, at amazon, so the ‘I don’t pay for anything brigade’ have plenty to chose from. Secondly, people download several free  books at the same time and save them to read later or, to be forgotten and never read at all. Something that is free has no perceived value as will often be discarded. Because of the time delay between people downloading and reading the free books any effect of overall sales on my paid for copies is impossible to measure.

Another issue which is dear to my heart also comes into play. Writing books is fun but it is also time consuming. I have pride in my work and know it has value. I don’t really want to give my books away unless I benefit through extra sales of paid books. Overall, as you may by now have gathered, I have not been impressed by the experiment but the show must go on. It’s time to try something different; a free offer with a better hook at the end, one that will make the reader put a hand in a pocket and buy another book.

Here’s the plan. My novel The Iron Masters is selling moderately well but I would like to sell more. Who doesn’t! The Iron Masters is an historical novel set during the Napoleonic Wars. It’s an epic in terms of time covering over 50 years and at 110,000 words a reasonable length. The book is in five parts so I’ve republished the first part as a stand alone work called The Iron Masters – Vol 1 For the Love of Eira and will be offering it free on the 8th, 9th and 10th November. Feel free, excuse the pun, to download a copy. Do you see where I’m going with this? Scrooges, who don’t buy the rest of the book, will never know how the story ends. Will my dastardly plan work? Ask me again in months time.

By the time the offer starts and you are reading this blog, I will be driving through South Carolina heading to Savannah. It’s a long overdue holiday and I’m looking forward to it but guess what? I will be having a sneaky peek at my sales figures when my wife isn’t watching.


Author: grahamwriter

Hi. I’m Graham Watkins and I have spent several years researching Welsh legends and myths. It has been a wonderful project and great fun as I explored rugged mountains, mysterious castles, enchanting waterfalls and golden beaches to discover the tales that have been handed down from generation to generation. Wales is a land of mystery and being a Celtic race the Welsh are fantastic story tellers. I've collected eighty of my favourite legends together in my book 'Welsh Legends and Myths.' That’s how I started writing. My first novel 'The Iron Masters' was an historical novel set in Merthyr during the Napoleonic Wars when Merthyr Tydfil was rearming the British Empire, fortunes were being made through other's sweat and anything was possible. Today, I am a multi genre novelist, hobby farmer and explorer. It’s all been great fun and the story isn’t over yet. I've recently published 'A White Man's War,' the story of a terrible siege during which the Scouting movement was born and 'The Sicilian Defence' a novel about a young American Woman lured to Sicily to a terrible fate. All my books are listed on the books page of my website. Right now I'm working on a modern day political thriller in which terrorists, computer programmers and a big brother state fight for their very survival. Oh! And don't forget to click here to join my mailing list for the latest news and stories and receive three free eBooks delivered straight to your inbox.

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