3 Reasons You SHOULD give away your writing & 2 Warnings

3 Reasons to Offer Your Writing for Free

1) Establish a relationship with your readers – people are much more likely to take a chance on something that is unfamiliar to them if it is free. You can reach people who otherwise would not have read your work. (A word of caution about this below!)

2) Point people towards your other works – if someone likes your writing style, theme, plot, point of view, setting, voice, then they are much more willing to check out your other works and, yes, get ready for it, even pay for them.

3) Build momentum for an upcoming book release – timing is everything with this one.

2 Warnings

1) Have more than one horse in the race. If you have only one book and you are giving it away to build momentum and reach new readers, once they read it, they are probably through with you. It is difficult to ask readers to wait for you, keep you in mind, and COME back to you when you have something else to offer them. Create more than one work, so if your readers love your free book, they can find more works by you.

2) A word of caution – people will try things ONLY because they are free. You may have lots of new readers, but they may not be YOUR readers. This is the dark side of the free book, the giveaway. Even if your book description says that your novel is only for people who love violin playing vampires, people who HATE vampires, especially ones that play the violin, will try out your book because it is free. Just a word of caution… do with it what you will.

For more info on why giveaways NO longer work to boost sales or why you shouldn’t expect miracles from them, read Russel Blake’s post – Great Until it Isn’t – especially the comments.

A final suggestion – write a short story, create a chapbook, and give these out whenever you do a presentation, a book signing, or as a “thank you.” Include your blog and email address.

AND – my giveaway for Thursday and Friday –

Josephine: Red Dirt & Whiskey – free, on Amazon for Kindle.

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About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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12 Responses to 3 Reasons You SHOULD give away your writing & 2 Warnings

  1. Roger says:

    So right. The reason I gave away my first two novels and charged so little for them after, is to (hopefully) build up a small, or even better, large, following that will enable me to make a few pence profit from the next in the series’

    • What have been your results, if you don’t mind sharing them? Have you been able to see a correlation between new readers and free downloads – people who have become your readers after trying out the free books?

      • Roger says:

        Not great to be honest. It’s partly my own fault for writing three books in different genres. and to compound matters my fourth will be in yet another genre. Maybe thing will change after as the next books will be parts two and onwards of my two SF series’.

        • It could also work in your favor – readers could find you in one genre and seek you out in the others. I think there are many readers who read across genres – I do.

  2. All great advice, Melinda. I especially like the idea of giving out a short story to give out. I have plans to do this in the future.

    • I’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the chapbooks I create. I include a few short stories, excerpts from the novels and WIPs. They are numbered and the covers are cardstock. It’s something for people to hold on to, and it gives them a way to contact you (I put my email and blog site on the back page) besides a business card. So, I say definitely give it a whirl 🙂

  3. Oh, and by the way… where can I get this epic adventure of the fiddling vampire? I MUST have it!!! 🙂

  4. The second warning is SO true! Ha ha! I have a vampire “booklet” for free on amazon and I get bad reviews on it and sometimes, as a kind of joke, I will see what their other reviews are and all of them are for things that are not even similarly related, LOL!

    But yes, free is a good way to go – I have had some success on Barnes and Noble because i have some free short stories on there (not worth fighting amazon and the price matching mess to get them on there just so people can complain “It’s a short story”- and since this KDP select that attitude has gotten worse thanks to all the free novels floating around)

    • Joleene,
      Your comment made me laugh 🙂
      There is a review of Russell Blake’s parody ‘How to Sell a Gazillion eBooks’ that complains that it is a parody. It’s listed as a parody. It says parody in the book description.
      Amazon used to have Kindle Singles where you could submit short stories, but I don’t believe that is an open program any more – separate from the regular KDP publishing.
      I DO think there is a market for short stories, outside of anthologies. I am just not sure how to tap into that market…

  5. DM Yates says:

    I think this is a good thing to do at first. I sure became a fan of yours because I read Josephine and loved it.

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