Thursday, January 19, 2012

FREE isn't what it used to be

Found this out as I'm offering Sultana for free in January, through Smashwords' distributors, and two days ago on Amazon US only (not through KDP Select, but the old-fashioned way). Hard to believe but next month marks one year that the book has been available. The feedback from readers has been positive and heart-warming, especially when I consider my earlier struggles to find representation and then get a publisher to take on the story. In case you're wondering why I would cannibalize sales of the one book among my four that's a consistent money-maker, there's the sequel Sultana's Legacy, which could use a boost in sales and ranking. If you want to find out what makes thirteenth-century Spain so fascinating, pick up your free copy of the book here, here and here by January 31.

What makes offering an e-book for free different this time around? Did I mention KDP Select? Everyone's book is free every other day now, or at least it seems that way. For authors trying to build any momentum, there's a crowded room effect - harder to get your free book noticed when everyone else's own is competing by the same terms. By comparison, the freebie of On Falcon's Wings generated over 10,000 downloads last June on the first day, whereas the latest one managed 4,000 downloads in the same time period. The glut of free has definitely changed things, which tells me marketing had better become more innovative to attract interest. Secondly, this time around I have a sequel to offer, which picks up fifteen years after the events in the freebie end. I'm hoping readers will like the first book enough to buy the second one. So far? Five sales of the sequel the day after the freebie appeared. So, as for whether the free offering will have an impact on sales of the sequel,  it's too early to tell  after two days. I've done all I can to generate interest with complex characters and a layered plot. The rest is up to readers.      


Consuelo Saah Baehr said...

Lisa, I wish you the best with this marketing maneuver.
I agree, free is not what it used to be but it does generate sales. My post free sales come on the third day of paid. I tried "select" with Daughters and it did very well in England amd so so in the U.S.


Johanna Garth said...

Good luck with your "free" publicity. May it generate lots and lots of sales!!

Lisa Yarde said...

Thanks Consuelo and Johanna. I definitely felt the impact of KDP Select when it first premiered as December turned into one of my worst months. Now that I've enrolled one book as a test, I'll also be looking for any collateral affect on Sultana and its sequel.

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