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Free Reads Revisited

Happy day after Thanksgiving! Let’s talk Christmas!  

Back in February 2011 my free read, Holiday Hostage went live. It’s been available for way over a year with close to 100,000 downloads. What did the experience teach me? I don’t know. Did offering a sample of my writing drive my sales up? Not sure. Would I do it again? Haven’t decided. 

Thanks for stopping by.  

No! Don’t go! There’s more. 

It was a rush to have well over 50,000 copies downloaded in the first few month alone. How many of those have actually been read? Again, I don’t know. Of the samples actually read by readers, how many truly liked the story? I wish I knew. Or maybe I don’t. If anyone in fact did read it, did they buy one of my other stories? Yes. Two people that I know of. One hated both (I know – why did she buy my book if she disliked my free story – can’t answer that – I’m no psychologist). But one person liked the free story and loved the purchased story. Or she felt sorry for me and was being super kind. Either way, I’ll take it. 

From speaking with other authors who have offered free reads, the consensus seems to be that it is a double-edged sword. Here’s my take on free. Cheap people, me included, will download something free. Because, well, because it’s free. Why not? What do you have to lose? I’ve done it myself. My mother does it. We come from a long line of cheap (I mean thrifty) ancestors. On Ancestory.com just type in the keyword cheap. Thems m’ people. We dine on Costco samples, clip mass coupons and download free books to our shiny e-reader that we bought on clearance. 

Here’s my theory: spacenut333 who loves to take long walks on the beach, travel exotic places collecting souvenir snow globes, and who reads futuristic sci-fi has downloaded my free story and hates it because she doesn’t like contemporary romantic comedy. Or she doesn’t think I’m funny. Her cat that she reads aloud to doesn’t think I’m funny either. And spacenut333 and her cat collectively send me death threats via an Amazon review. Not a fan. I get it.  

My next theory is mine and mine alone. It’s not 100% accurate or scientifically proven. Stay with me. If you get something for free, you don’t appreciate it as much as if you pay for it. Unless your grandmother gave it to you. Why? I don’t know. Maybe people are afraid to admit in a public forum that they paid good money for a book they don’t like. They got suckered by a pretty cover and a flowery blurb. Mostly, if you’ve got money on the line, you’re probably going to investigate before buying. You’ll read the first chapter and/or check out the reviews and not buy a contemporary romantic comedy if you really like steampunk or fantasy. 

Lastly, after years of toiling in customer service, I think people in general are more apt to complain than compliment. Hence my many 1 star reviews, with lovely comments like “wish I could rate it lower”. Add the anonymity of the Internet… 

I can only hope that of the thousands of copies of Holiday Hostage that were downloaded, some people actually read the story and enjoyed the read and will give me another shot to entertain them in the future.  

How ‘bout you? What’s your take of free reads? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Anyone found a “must read” author from a free story?

Free Samples!

Free to good home—Holiday Hostage.

Yes, my book is a little late to the Christmas party or early, however you want to look at it. During the transition of Cerridwen Press being absorbed into Ellora’s Cave, my little freebee got put on hold. But it’s here today. Cross fingers. Rub your lucky rabbit’s foot or whatever you rub to get lucky.

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