Monday, December 19, 2011

The giveaway gambit

If this sounds like a mystery story, it is. What does it profit a man if he gives away his ebook? One of the "benefits" in Amazon's new KDP Select program is to give an author five promotion days in the 90-day sign-up period, to offer his book for free.

Now this is a generous offer from Amazon, which puts its vast customer base and sophisticated selling software at the disposal of an author and gets nothing in return for processing the sales on those days.

What does the author get from it? Exposure. The biggest challenge the self-published author faces is readers finding out the book exists. Offering it for free brings it to the attention of those trolling precisely for these free books and catapults your book to the top of the free Kindle bestselling lists.

It's common for new businesses to offer freebies to attract customers. Of course, they can then sell the same good or service to repeat customers. Since I don't have a second Kindle out there, I can't benefit from a repeat customer, at least not directly.

My hope is that whatever percentage of those potential readers who download my book actually read it, some of them will talk about it with their friends, recommend it, maybe even give it as a gift. Everyone says word of mouth is the path to success with indie books and it seems to getting your book into the hands of hundreds of readers is good way to prime that pump.

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