Using Free Reads to Promote Your Novels

I am a big fan of free read, not just because I’m frugal with money, but because I hate to invest a lot of money on an author whose writing style I can’t stand. When buying the book of an unknown author online, it’s even more important that I know that I’m going to like them.

An excerpt of the novel can help sell the book, but a short story or novella showcasing a writers ability to keep the plot moving to the end is even better in my mind. However, if you plan on following this route to promoting your books, please, please, please, post your best work so you don’t scare away potential customers. I don’t know how many short stories and novellas I read this last week and am completely turned off reading any of those authors. Very few were due to mislabeled their story genres that I wasn’t interested in.

I was wondering how everyone else felt about using free reads to promote their work?

4 thoughts on “Using Free Reads to Promote Your Novels

  1. Well, I’m probably one of the few authors who post everything for free and will keep doing so. I know. I probably piss off other authors who fear that readers will keep expecting free reads because of people like me. But I won’t let that stop me from doing what I want to do. 🙂

    Anyway, if it weren’t for free reads, I doubt I would have ever gotten noticed. I went from 30 hits in Dec. 2008 to 400 in Jan. 2009 (when I posted three books up for free and got a free ebook blogger to post them for me too). Then it just kept going. I sold more copies of the free ebooks than the others, so I eventually made them all for free. Now I average about 14-15,000 hits on my website a month and sell more on Kindle than I ever dreamed possible. Some people email and say they know my books are free but for $0.99 a book, they’ll just buy it on Amazon. I’m not complaining.

    This notion that people will not buy a book that is free is, in my opinion, false logic. If it were true, I wouldn’t keep making sales. There will always be people who won’t buy books. There will always be “ebook pirates”. But I fear not getting my name out there more than piracy. Because along the way, someone who read my stuff for free may mention me to someone who will buy it.

    I’m not saying all authors should offer free reads. I’m just saying that I’m happy with it. I think, for me, it’s the right choice.


    • I guess I am a freak, but IMHO you’re not someone until someone pirates your work! LOL!! okay, seriously, maybe I am morally loose, or maybe I just haven’t found the right numbers to show me the significance of this ebook piracy, but it’s not really something I’m concerned with. Seems to me that if people are pirating it then, hey, it must be good because pirating anything takes a lot of effort.

      I gave shades of gray away free on smashwords for a month (with a code) and then again during the free ebook week. did it make any difference in my paid sales? no, but that’s the ONLY book I have out there, and i imagine if book two were already out then it would have done something for it. The way I look at it is that 100-some people (i forget the number) have at least downloaded it, of them maybe half actually read it, and of those maybe 25 liked it, so when book two does come along those 25 will be more likely to not only get it, but also tell their friends, “Hey, you should check this out”.

      And while the hundred and some was a small number, I thought it wasn’t too bad since the only advertising I did was to list it at the free book places Ruth suggested in one of her blogs 🙂

      okay, so I am yabbering pointlessly just to say i am all for free. I like free, and other people like free. I know I downloaded the new NIN album because they offered it free (and creative commons! wOOt!)I’m not a huge fan, but maybe this album will grip me and make me one 😉


      • You’re only someone after you’ve been pirated! I love it!

        I guess I’m morally loose too. But you know, if a book is good and if people like the author, sales will happen. Sure, it might be slow. For years, I did good to make $34 in royalties. But then one day, things take off.

        In my opinion, people who would never have taken a chance on you will if it’s free, and you never know if they will end up being a fan. And people will pirate books no matter what. But that won’t stop others from buying it.

        I, for one, am waiting for book 2. 🙂


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