Ah, Freestuff. Who doesn't love it? But are freebies good for your authoring career?
First off, if you've taken five years to write your magnum opus, giving it away may seem a little foolish. Sure, some authors will be happy just to have accolades. But this author shies away from ego strokes and is solely interested in the money. That is, selling my work.
See, if someone buys your work, and keeps on buying it, that is confirmation you're doing it correctly. Dollars speak louder than glowing reviews.
Kindle Direct Publishing is all about free. They have Kindle Unlimited, where people can binge on books like it's Netflix. They have Select days, where you can give away your books. And then there's Permafree, where Amazon price-matches other sites that allow you to list you work for nothing.
A better course of action is to write more to sell more. Don't give it all away. If you tell a good story, someone will pay to read it and then more of your work.
Are all Freebies bad then? Heck no.
Permafree is pretty awesome if you have a series. Likewise Select days. Crack dealers use this business model all the time: give away a sample--say Book 1--then make your new customers pay for subsequent hits. If it can work in the inner city, it can wok in the self-publishing field. And it does.
What, you don't have a series yet? Don't despair, there are other Freebies you can shoot for.
If you believe in the Mailing List Fairy Tale (which I'll cover later) you can give away free samples or prequels, or sequels or whatever to your subscribers to entice them to let you send them regular Spammy updates about your next release.
There's also SWAG, free stuff you can hand out when you do conventions (whcih I'll also cover later). Bookmarks, cards, pencils, etc. etc.. Businesses do it all the time. Lure people to your over-priced table with the promise of free stuff.
The final Freebie I'll mention is the best: The Goodreads Giveaway. Now, mind you, this requires the print edition of your book to be available for sale online. That's not so hard to do, thanks to yet another Amazon subsidiary, Createspace. Goodreads makes these giveaways so easy, even conducting the drawing for however many copies you want to donate. Createspace makes it easy as well, allowing you to order individual copies to be sent to individuals, rather than ordering a metric ton of dead trees to your door, repackaging then sending them out yourself.
Giveaways are awesome because they're low-priced ads. For under $20, you can gift 2 or 3 books to lucky souls who have undoubtedly checked out your Goodreads Author page and all your other work. Yes, the more you've written, the better your chances of this drawing in new readers. But even if you only giveaway 2 or 3 copies, someone who signed up may decide your idea sounds cool enough they can't wait and they buy the digital copy ASAP.
When all is said and done, Freebies can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use them. And on how many wares you actually have to sell. As many have said before though, don't give away all your hard work. Authors deserve to be paid.
Check back tomorrow for the next article on self-publishing: GENRES. Until then, visit the A to Z Blog Challenge website for a diverse list of blogs to fit every taste.