Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG for June 2015

Before I get down to this month's IWSG post, I just wanted everyone to know that Dragonfly Warrior, the first book in my Asian-Steampunk series The Mechanica Wars, is FREE! So download it NOW and check it out.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

So yeah, I've made my debut novel FREE. There are several legit reasons why this is a bad idea. Many say it's a terrible thing to do. Readers might download the heck out of your freebie, but there's not much incentive to actually read it. And if they do read it, they probably weren't necessarily your target audience and they will just trash you when they write a review...IF they even write a review.

Giving your book away for free just makes readers expect free stuff all the time. It hurts the entire industry, and it will probably cause climate change.

My reason for making Dragonfly Warrior free is pretty simple. I decided to do some kind of marketing, and this is the best I've got. Book Bub turned me down. As did E-Reader News Today (which is weird because they've promoted me in the past). So after last month's post about me being too burned out to promote the third book in my series, I decided to do SOMETHING that wouldn't take a whole lot of effort.

I figure if it doesn't work, I'll make it $2.99 again and figure something out. It never hurts to try.

In an ideal world, two positives will come out of this:

1) I will get more reviews (and hopefully several 4 and 3 star ones. Having all 5 stars kinda looks suspicious)

2) Readers will want to continue the series and pick up Shadow Warrior (Vol 2) and Iron Warrior (Vol 3)

But I've got my doubts. I look at my own Kindle, and I see a graveyard of free books I downloaded but haven't read. I've got tons! When I read, there's more incentive to read something I paid actually money for. I tell myself, "I'll get to those freebies later." Ha. Yeah right.

I have to be honest with myself. I'm fairly sure a majority of those downloading Dragonfly Warrior probably won't read it. But hey, if a few readers like it and want to continue reading the other books, I'll count that as a victory.

Have you made any of your books free? If so, how did it go? Or are you against giving away your work for nuthin'? You poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your masterpiece, and darnit, that's gotta be worth at least 99 cents! Let me know what you think!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My publisher has discounted my books before, but never given them away for free. Hey, you never know, Jay. If they read it and like it, they'll buy the second book.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah many don't read it, I recently set two up, got 5000 downloads between the pair and 1 review lol but I sold 75 books from it, so that makes it worth it to me.

And bookbub have become real snobs since they got popular

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Maybe someone who can't afford to buy a lot of books downloads a bunch of free ones, reads yours, loves it, and now you have a fan for life. Hey, you never know, right?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Giving a book away for free is a gamble. You do have a more than one book though, so that's a plus.

BookBub have become snobs. Plus they are outrageously expensive now. Only the big boys can afford them.

Jo said...

I just downloaded your book for free Jay, thank you very much. I promise I will read it and review it when I have done so. I have a couple of books on the go at the moment so it will be a couple of weeks maybe. I am not an expert reviewer but I can tell people if I enjoyed it or not I guess.

Pat Dilloway said...

That worked pretty well for my one series so hopefully it works for you too.

Cherie Reich said...

I've made a few of my shorter works free in the past, although I have nothing free at the moment. Permafreeing a first in the series or putting the first in the series for free every so often can help introduce readers to your series. And I think that's the major point that conquers all the negatives. That said, I am bad at reading what free books I've picked up, but then again, I've paid for a LOT of books I haven't read yet either. That's the bad thing about wanting all the books and not having time to read all the books.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I went with a traditional publisher for my first book, so I can't give mine away for free:) I do hope it works out for you! Keep us posted:)

Anne Marie J. Schlueter said...

Personally, it sounds like you thought through this a lot and have some perfectly legitimate reasons for giving your book away. I've never had to make a decision like that, but I'm interested to hear how it works out! Good luck!! =)

Chrys Fey said...

With my first eBook published, my published participated in KDP. I got a ton of downloads and maybe 3 reviews from that. One that was two-stars and the girl said she didn't know this and that about it...obviously she didn't read the details or the blurb. Having your book for free can be beneficial, if you do it free for a short while. Say, two weeks. After that, you can put it at a discounted price and see what happens.

Good luck! :D

Chrys Fey said...

With my first eBook published, my published participated in KDP. I got a ton of downloads and maybe 3 reviews from that. One that was two-stars and the girl said she didn't know this and that about it...obviously she didn't read the details or the blurb. Having your book for free can be beneficial, if you do it free for a short while. Say, two weeks. After that, you can put it at a discounted price and see what happens.

Good luck! :D

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My book pricing all comes from my publisher. They have dropped one to .99 for a short time. I didn't notice any big effect on my other books. I hope this works out for you.

Melissa said...

I think you did a good thing. You waited a while, and then you did it. Many writers do this funnel-style pricing/marketing. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm a picky reader and I balk at paying full-price for an unknown author. Not because I don't think the book's worth it, but because I don't yet trust their writing. Once I see they can put out a good product, I'm willing to pay more. If they're very good, considerably more. ;)

Good luck! :)
IWSG #126 until Alex culls the list again.

Tracy Jo said...

That would be a really hard call but like you said, at least you are trying something! Sending you positive thoughts that you get great reviews!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

I have tons of freebies too, but I do eventually get to them. I like getting things outside my usually genres this way. They get 1-2 chapters to suck me in. I've gone on to read whole series this way (not free, just the first book, then bought the rest of the books to read.)

Loni Townsend said...

I released with my first book free. Probably not a good sales tactic. :) But hey, it does get attention. I hope you have a good download rate!

Kimberly said...

I haven't made mine free yet but I've been thinking about it or at least reducing the price and doing something like BookBub, but now after reading some of the comments above, not sure I'll be able to do that. Maybe we should start our own group or something to get the word out about our books when they're reduced or free. :)

Jay Noel said...

So far, as of 7 PM CST, I've had a total of 470 downloads. I don't know if that's really good, bad, or just ok. No idea. The great experiment continues!!!

Patricia Lynne said...

When I released the second book in my series, I put the first one up for free. It got a lot of downloads, but I knew not to expect those people to instantly read it and go buy the next one. Some people just download anything if it's free and don't even care. They wouldn't have bought it if it was paid so it's not like you're losing out on money. That's a downside to free, but if you can find a few readers who become loyal fans then there you go.

Lexa Cain said...

"Probably cause climate change" You're a riot! I hope your freebie goes very well, you hit your target audience, and get some awesome reviews out of it, not mention spiking sales of your sequels! :)

Cindy said...

I've went free several times. Sometimes it went well and other times not so much. I had a Bookbub and ENT promos before. This was back when Bookbub was new and I have not tried since as the price has gone up a lot. The main thing I've discovered with free is that it give you an initial boost, but eventually even your free rank starts to decline. So long term it's not so good. I think it's better to do 5 days free every 3 months or so. There are a lot of other places that do book features. I try to contact as many as possible. Some are free. I have a long list of them. I don't know if going free really hurts the industry. If anything, it gives readers more incentive to try your work. A lot of authors are now pointing readers to their mailing list...especially when they go free.

Anyway, I downloaded your book and I liked the beginning. Hope to read more.

Jay Noel said...

Patricia: That's what I'm thinking.

Lexa: I hope to see even a little trickle down effect to books 2 and 3. We'll see.

Thanks so much Cindy!

Tyrean Martinson said...

I have made a couple of my e-stories free, but I haven't gone free with any of my novels. I'm at a trickle of sales for all titles, but last summer when I didn't have any free titles I had a zero month that just about killed me. I'm going to see how this summer looks with a few free stories out there. If I keep the trickle of sales, I may try making the first Champion book free when I get done with the trilogy. I've heard that it can work. I just don't know yet.

Tyrean Martinson said...

And "probably will cause climate change" made me laugh . . . thanks, Jay! I hope it all goes well!

Christine Rains said...

I totally believe it could work for you. Your novels are fantastic. The first story in my 13th Floor series is free, and it does draw in readers. I also have a stand-alone novella that's free and that attracts even more readers. Does it help with reviews? Maybe... I still haven't figured out how to get more reviews. Let me know if you discover the secret!

Cynthia said...

Thank you for the book, Jay. I currently have a number of books in my queue but I will get to yours eventually.

It sounds like you thought this out quite a bit, and I wish you positive results from this marketing experiment.

Nick Wilford said...

I've heard of a number of authors doing this and I do think it will do more good than harm. It might pick up more passing interest and get people hooked. Even if a book's free, I'll only download it if I have a genuine interest in reading it, and I will get to it. It's a waste of space otherwise!

DEZMOND said...

Sadly, me doesn't have a Kindle so me can't download it for free, but I do hope it brings you more circulation and more new readers! Working in the publishing industry I know we're covered in tons of new books every day, everyone can get published these days, so it is extremely hard finding a way for your book to shine in that ocean. Megagiga ocean.

G. B. Miller said...

That's the one plus thing about giving away a free book is if that people like it, they'll search out your other work. I did free once for my first novel, but all it resulted in was a ton o' free books for everyone and zero reviews. Then for my latest release, I put my first one on sale for the same price as my latest. Didn't have too many takers, but it wasn't for the lack of trying.

Have you tried running an ad/boosting a post on Facebook? You can spend as little as $5 and either do a blanket hit or a specific target with your post.

Karen Walker said...

Good luck, Jay. I hope your strategy works. I've never done that, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea.

Stephsco said...

Free books are tough because the industry is changing so much so fast, so what worked 3 years ago might not anymore.

My self-pub friends in RWA swear by the Self Publishing group in Yahoo groups. It's free, all you need is to connect a free Yahoo email address. It's self pub writers posting about what works, what doesn't. It's huge and very active. One of my good writer friends has learned a ton from it. It's a lot of romance writer members but not exclusive to romance writing or any one genre. Maybe they'll have ideas for you :)

All that to say your book sounds cool and I wish you lots of success :)

Nicki Elson said...

Hey, doesn't hurt to try. I think that's still a decent strategy when it comes to a series. There are a bunch of sites where you can list your free eBook. Might be worth filling out the forms at a few of those.

Al Diaz said...

I recently heard from Rayne Hall that giving the book for free for a time might help in future sales, as the book goes up in rank and attract interest for the other books of a series. She has sold several books and this strategy works for her, so you really never know. As you said, it doesn't hurt to try and find out.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Jay you are doing something and that is better than doing nothing. I wish you all the best and hope your risk works.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It doesn't get easier trying to determine the right moves to make. Good luck on your venture, Jay. If you believe in your book, you're one step closer to success.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It doesn't get easier trying to determine the right moves to make. Good luck on your venture, Jay. If you believe in your book, you're one step closer to success.

Julie Dao said...

I think this is a good strategy, Jay. At worst, like you said, people will download your free book and not read it. But likely they WILL read it and leave a review, and talk about it to friends/family if they enjoyed it. You could do it for a trial period and see if you get more reviews, and as you mentioned you can always slap the price back on! Have you promoted it on Twitter, too? I see a lot of authors send out a tweet (with a graphic of their book) saying RT this by such-and-such a date, and I'll pick one winner. You could do that when you put the price back on... it's a good way to get free exposure for relatively little work!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Jay,

I think it has a lot of positives. First, reaching out to unknown readers is great... Like some of the others have said, a new fan may not often read your genre. This is a FANTASTIC way to introduce yourself and YOUR WORK to a potential reader. And in most cases, if they love the first book, they will pick up the next to find out what happens....

I may take some time, but I think you will benefit from your generosity.

Second. Even if you just get one or two reviews, that is more than you had before.

Good luck and ALL THE BEST!

PS.. thanks for the caring comment on my post... I really appreciated it.

Emily R. King said...

Hmm, I see where you're coming from on both sides, and I say go for it. You don't know what good or harm it will do until you DO it. I hope it's a mad success!

Emily R. King said...

Hmm, I see where you're coming from on both sides, and I say go for it. You don't know what good or harm it will do until you DO it. I hope it's a mad success!

Robin said...

Keep us posted on how this turns out. I'm really curious to see if it produces results.

Stephanie Faris said...

I never download free books, but that's only because I want to support authors! I know there are people out there who are always looking for something for free, though. I always do Goodreads giveaways when I have a new book out and it gets a lot of people to add it to their to-read lists...but do they read it if they don't win it? Probably not... I guess it's all about getting your name out there, though.

Jay Noel said...

The great experiment continues! I will for sure let everyone know what happens.

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