Freebie! And more on promotions.

My short story ‘Ants’ is now being published free on various outlets. Not Amazon; that price is forbidden! But in time, Amazon will catch on and lower their price to match what Apple, B&N, Kobo, Scribd, and PageFoundry will give you.

I’m also switching my novella ‘Hands’ to those publishers, but probably not free. I’ll keep it at the $0.99 price. I’m doing a fast re-edit to get it more publication-ready, removing some of the ‘forsoothness’ to make it appeal more to a broader variety of readers. Expect it to be available there in a week or so. I’ll be done before that time, but Apple and B&N are usually slow at publishing an ebook when the manuscript is sent to them.

There are three separate promotions scheduled for January, one on the 2nd, one on the 13th, and the third on the 17th. Each promotion is being done through a different company, BookSends, Kindle Book Review, and Ereader News Today. If you’re a reader of ebooks, subscribe to their free email service. They send out notices regarding books that are temporarily discounted or free. It’s a good deal for readers, and good for authors in that it allows our books to be shown to potential readers as one of a few rather than one of hundreds that Amazon or others publishes ever day.

I’ll be reporting back on what results were achieved later on. I’m hoping to come up with a ‘star’ rating system based on cost versus benefits. This sounds simple, but it’s not; some of the benefits aren’t quantifiable. For example, BookBub sends out a mailer with only one or two titles, and that goes to perhaps a hundred thousand potential buyers. From this, you might expect perhaps two thousand purchases. At a royalty of $0.35 for a book discounted to $0.99, you’ll need at least a thousand downloads to recoup the cost of $350 to promote your book. Rating agencies warn that the cost may not be met. So why invest that much money, or worse, pay $270 (??) to promote a free book? That latter might get you thousands of downloads, but whether the books are ever read is questionable. The reason lies in advertising theory; the first time potential customers see your name, they ignore it. But by the time they’ve seen it five times, they’re more willing to take a chance and spend money.

I won’t offer my novels free in the future; I tried it once, decided it wasn’t a good plan for me. But I will offer the books at substantial discounts, down to $0.99 in most cases. I’m also considering permanent drops of the first books in a series at that price, loss leaders in effect. But doing that means that the books are shut out of some potential promotion options, because the promoters will only email out titles that are discounted. So I don’t yet have a decision.

A final note: 2014 has been a wild ride, I’m hoping that 2015 will be as good for me as I hope it is for YOU! Happy New Year, everyone!

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