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What happened when I made my book free?

People often ask me why I sell the ebook for No Heart for a Thief for $0.99. I’m not going to make much money, certainly not the money I put into the book back, by selling my work for $0.99. After Amazon takes it’s cut, I make around $0.30 for each ebook sold. I actually make more money when someone reads my book on Kindle Unlimited.

So, why do it?

I based my marketing and selling strategies on indie authors who have been successful in this space long before me. One of those authors is Ryan Cahill. When he started out, Ryan sought to get his book out to the maximum number of readers he could, even if that meant less money. The hope is that these readers will continue with an author after being introduced to their work. Therefore, removing obstacles between a reader and one’s books has a potential to payoff in the long run. Money is an obstacle.

While Ryan is not the first person to employ this strategy, he is the one who convinced me to try it when I listened to his interview on Library of a Viking.

All of this is well and good, but why would I sell my book for free?

April 1-4, I joined the Narratess Indie Sale, selling my ebook at no cost. Over that period, I gave away 2552 copies of No Heart for a Thief, and I couldn’t be happier.

That is 2552 people who, at a minimum, saw my book and were interested enough to download it. 2552 people who will potentially read my book. They might even review it. They might even order a copy of book 2 when it comes out in the fall.

These 2552 people sent my book to the #1 Free Fantasy Adventure Book on Amazon. No Heart for a Thief hit #4 in Free Sword & Sorcery books and #5 in Free Epic Fantasy Books.

These numbers may not mean the world to everyone, but that put even more eyes on my book. There was a slew of people that saw my book hit the top of these categories even if they didn’t buy it.

Sometimes people need to see something several times in a positive light before they will give it a chance. This is amazing marketing material.

Will it be helpful in the long run? Will people read their free books? Will they leave reviews? I have no way of knowing.

What I do know is during that same four days, my Kindle Unlimited reads continued on pace and the first day after the sale I sold 15 books. I didn’t have a single day in March in which I sold 15 copies. 190 people added my book on their Goodreads accounts, 13 of whom have marked it as currently reading.

At the end of the day, all indie authors can do is try out tactics and see what sticks. Hopefully, people will like my book and my writing enough to continue on this journey with me.


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