Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

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.

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8 thoughts on “Why Have Free Promos?

  1. I hadn’t… but now I have (so very much playing catch-up on the blogs today). Will read and review! I promise!
    Also, love the comic… it made me think a little bit about “The cow that went oink.” A kids book that’s just fun. 🙂


    • Hi, Eclecticalli! Don’t feel bad…I never realized how important reviews were either…UNTIL I wrote a book, myself. Then I saw how it all worked, and I started feeling bad for all the books I’ve read over the years and didn’t review.

      I’ve been reading ebooks for umpteen years now (in addition to print, of course), and have left very few reviews. But now I do! I want every author who has entertained me in one way or the other to know that I loved their work, and I want my voice to be counted in support of them.

      Everything about self-publishing has been a learning experience for me, and this is just one of those things. Since I didn’t know it before, I figured there were probably others out there who had no idea, either. So, voila. Promo post! 😀 Hope it does convince readers to review their favorite books. And I’m DEFINITELY not just referring to mine. Every author deserves it, most especially if they are giving out free copies of their work.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. (I don’t know the Cow That Went Oink, but it sounds fun. I’ll look for it for my grandson, who is learning all the animal sounds. I loved the cartoon, too. So silly. 🙂 )


      • I wrote my first review fairly recently — and am hoping that others will return the favor and take the time to review my work (once I, you know, publish something) — so figure it’s good karma-points to start making the effort to do so for others now!
        I also am so VERY appreciative of all of you who are/have learned the ropes and share about it, I’m a researching kind of gal, so it’s nice to be able to do this “researching” before I fully jump into the fray myself.


        • I’m with you on the research. I spend part of every day trying to learn more about the writing process, and now, about the self-publishing process. Self-marketing is my nemesis. It’s so HARD, and all I really want to do is write! 🙂 Good luck with your endeavors, and keep me posted on what you’re doing. I do like to promote indie writers when I can. And I think you’re right on the karma thing. The more we give, the more we get. Karma’s like that! 😀


  2. waldeneffect on said:

    I wouldn’t say that getting reviews is the only reason to give away free books. Even after a book has plenty of reviews (in fact, especially then), I like to use free periods to boost my other books. I know from experience that if I read a freebie by an author and it really grabs me, I’ll consider going to buy their other books. Also, just by being in the public eye, free books tend to move up the ranks when they go back to being paid, and that upward momentum often lingers for weeks. So, yes, reviews are a great reason to give away books, but not the *only* reason. (Speaking of which, one of my books is free today as well: Enjoy. 🙂 )


  3. I see what you are saying, but it still amounts to getting sales via having gotten enough reviews to make another use applicable. Until you have those reviews, using that freebie to generate sales of other titles wou9ld be less effective, I would think. But I do like the concept of making uses of promos of one book to generate sales of another.

    First things first, though. Get those reviews, sell lots of copies, and then parlay that book into a sales tool for another book. Works for me. 🙂

    And folks, be sure to check out Anna’s promotion, too. Her books are well worth looking into, believe me! 🙂


  4. sourris25 on said:

    It sounds counter-intuitive but there is a flow on to your other works after a free promotion. A reasonable back list first helps!

    I try to write reviews for others but it’s hard to strike a balance with my own writing. Sometimes it takes a long while before I get to read those lovely free downloads! Eventually, it will happen.


    • Hi, Sourris25! I probably need to clarify a bit more in my original post. First, I did say the reason was “publicity,” which of course, translates to reviews, word of mouth, and introducing folks to new writers, who then seek out other books. I probably didn’t express it as well as I should have, but I do understand that there can be an over-flow to your other works.

      In my case, I have had several very successful giveaways, and haven’t seen that, yet, but I don’t have very many books out there. Just two novels. I need to add a caveat or two to my original post, and I’ll do that directly. Thanks for the input.

      And boy, do I know what you mean about striking a balance. All I really want to do is write, much to the detriment of not only my blogs and social media, but my house, my chores and errands, and even at times, my family. That balance is so difficult to find. I have not written reviews for anywhere near all of the books I need to, don’t get me wrong. But I’m working on it.

      My main point with this post was to tell readers who have probably never given it a thought how important reviews and word of mouth are to every author, everywhere. Whether it’s just in increased sales of the book in question, or overflow to other books. Reviews help more than most readers would ever imagine. I’m aiming to do better now that I know this, and I encourage others to remember, too. With all books, but most especially those that have been part of a promotion. Just supporting all authors, here, especially independent ones.


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