Why Have Free Promos?
(Nothing to do with this post, but funny, anyway.)
Ever ask yourself why authors are so happy to give away thousands of copies of their books? I mean, if you sold apples for a living, you probably wouldn’t be parked somewhere giving away 5,000 crates of them, would you? Same thing. I know a lot of people don’t realize it, but most writers need to sell books to earn a living, so giving away their product seems, well, counter-productive, doesn’t it? Frankly, there are times when I think that’s the case, myself, and wonder why I’m doing it. Especially when a promo turns out to be as successful as my latest one is shaping up to be. It’s scary seeing that much product go out, with no money coming in for it. So why do it?
Here’s the answer: publicity. Especially for eBooks. You can’t go on talk shows and give away copies of your book to the studio audience, so you schedule promos to get copies of the book “out there.” And what do you get in return? Hopefully reviews. That is the ONLY reason an author gives away books. To get reviews. Preferably GOOD ones, of course. Good reviews sell books, and the theory is that if you give away a few thousand books, you’ll gain enough reviews to sell more. And selling more books moves you up in the rankings at amazon, making your book easier for the browsing public to find.
This doesn’t just apply to me, by any means. This applies to every, single writer who has an eBook published, and who schedules free promos. When you download that writer’s book, please consider leaving a review for them, if you enjoyed it. That’s how they can afford to keep on writing more books for your reading pleasure. Even well-established authors need that word of mouth, which is the #1 thing that sells books. When you read a book you love, especially a free one, tell your friends and family so that they can buy a copy for themselves. Tweet it, and post on Facebook, or your own blog, if you can. And think about leaving that review on amazon. It will mean the world to the author.
(NOTE: As has been mentioned in the comments, free promos of a given book also help direct readers to other books by the same author. This goes back to my original statement that “the answer is publicity.” For writers with only one book, the reviews are everything. They are what helps increase sales of that book more than anything else. For writers with multiple books, a promo of one book can overflow and increase sales of other books by the same author. It still boils down to publicity, via word of mouth and/or reviews, whether it helps the sale of the book that’s currently free, or another book by that writer. Please consider this post as 1) my personal opinion, only, and 2) a way of letting readers who may never have thought of this know how important their reviews really are. Spreading the word is what keeps writers in business, and whether you do it by telling everyone you know about a good book, writing a review, or looking up other books by the author, you are helping. Most especially, in my own opinion, with those hopefully positive reviews.)
Thanks so much to everyone who has downloaded a free copy of Wake-Robin Ridge yesterday or today. (Thousands of you, now.) I hope you love the book as much as I loved writing it.