I’ve been at this writing thing for a while now and I’ve seen the posts from other indies saying that those of us who do free promos are killing the market, insulting other indies, and a host of other bad things that are degrading to our craft. I disagreed back when I ran my first free promo and I continue to disagree, but this world of self-publishing requires constant evaluation and new strategies.
Yes, Amazon changed the rankings so a free promo doesn’t get you the surge in rankings that it used to – but it still gets you a boost in terms of publicity. Or maybe the postings from the free sites that list your book gets you a boost – either way, it seems as if a good free promo ultimately sells more books and that is what we want as writers, isn’t it?
But what about the people who are called “free loaders” – the ones who download every free book that comes their way? They don’t bother me in the least – I consider it a public service to run my books for free. If there is someone who loves to read, who can’t afford to buy books on a regular basis then they can feel free to download one of mine and maybe I’ve helped them satisfy their craving for a new book. It didn’t cost me anything to do that and the fact that someone is reading my work makes me all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that I won’t see a dime from the sale.
Besides, I have received a few reviews from people who have downloaded my books on a free promo – that is worth way more than the small royalty I make when I sell a book!
There’s another strategy that indie authors might find useful for free promotion: the blog tour. I’ve done a few and I love the experience – not only do I get more traffic to my own blog because of the daily posts, but I definitely see a surge in sales following the hop.
Recently, I combined the two strategies – I ran a free promo on one book and the following week did a blog tour promoting the second book in the series – I’ve had pretty good results (daily sales of most of my books!). Now, I’m looking for something to do this week to keep the trend going. Since I’m drafting my next book right now, this is a perfect time to market – when I’m writing the whole marketing aspect is neglected because words on the page are more important to me than posts on the web.
So get out there indies and promote, promote, promote (and for heaven’s sake – throw something up for free – you might win two new fans!)