Here’s the scoop for those of you who aren’t authors or exposed to the world of Amazon:
When you publish an e-book for Amazon’s Kindle, you have the choice to enroll it in what they call “KDP Select”. This makes your book available to be borrowed through their lending “library” and gives the option to make it free to all for up to five days in a ninety day period. What’s the catch, you ask? Simple: during the aforementioned three-month period, your book must be exclusive to Kindle. The question is: does the prospect of giving away free books outweigh having it available only for one platform?
This is likely a big decision for an established author who sells lots of books, but I’m not that guy (yet). Since my novel has only sold a few copies across all platforms, it seems I have nothing to lose. My short stories are available for free through Smashwords, and my most successful one has been downloaded 2653 since Sept., 2010. Not bad? There are stories of people making their novels free on Kindle and giving away tens of thousands of copies in a few days.
Does giving away a novel sound counter-productive to you? Some might think so, but the free promo seems to always add sales. When someone downloads it, whether they paid for it or got it for free, it has a chance to end up on that person’s list of “also boughts”. With this listing, your book can appear in a thumbnail list which accompanies other books this person has purchased, and this is what leads to sales. It’s like unintentional free advertising. The results can be astounding as my fellow Canadian writer Martin Crosbie found out (see his results in his blog).
Look for my novel “On Unfaithful Wings” to go free in a couple of weeks. I’ll announce the exact dates soon.
I’ll keep you all posted on how things are going.