Fri 07 September 2012

Why Write a Free Ebook?

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Self Publishing and tagged with Reviews, Ratings, Self-Publishing, Free Ebooks
Considering writing an eBook and giving it away?  Make sure you have a plan.

terran chronicles universe blogThere are many reader audiences; science fiction, drama, horror, fantasy, romance novels, and the latest fad, which has even been described as, ‘mommy porn’. We as writers, find our own niche and do what we do best, write.

The idea of spending many hours laboring over a story, then giving it away, can be a tough one to get around. I suggest thinking long and hard over doing this. Make sure there is an underlying marketing plan involved before giving away an eBook, no matter how small.

For some writers, the idea is that by providing the first book in a series for free, folks will purchase the rest. This may look like a great hook to get people interested, but I feel that by offering a major work for free simply devalues the writer. The standard eBook preview on most sites is twenty percent. This is plenty to ‘give away’, letting people have a taste of your flair and style.

Others offer their work for free for a short period time, in order to gain an audience. There are quite a few pros and cons to this idea. Sure the work ‘gets out’, but it gets out to anyone and everyone. People will rate and review the novel as they see fit, not withstanding that it was a free read.

I once found saw a review that said, ‘not worth the money’, what! It was free, ouch. One advantage to this is that the novel has a large number of ‘sales’ attributed to it, making it look larger than life itself. I have yet to subscribe to this idea, but won’t discount it for the future. Please excuse the pun!

As a relatively new science fiction writer, I deliberated for a long time over whether to provide my work for free. I came up with another approach. The major novels have a static fee attached to them. But my sci-fi short stories are different, and part of a greater marketing plan. Each major science fiction novel has a code at the end of the book. With this code, people can read the associated short story for free, or even download it using a one hundred percent discount coupon. Those that have not purchased the prerequisite eBook will have to pay a nominal fee. Thus the story is not actually free, but a bonus for those that follow the Terran Chronicles saga.

Whatever the writers of tomorrow do, I hope they show wisdom. I hope our time and efforts are not dismissed so easily and made free. Thousands of hours go into these novels, hopefully they will provide enough income to allow us writers to stay home and write. Value yourself and value your efforts.

Take it easy mates.

James Jackson