Freebies – Oh, how times have changed….

The World of Karov

The World of Karov

Think back to twenty years ago. Do you remember famous authors ever giving away their books for free? I remember them occasionally writing an original short story for a magazine and it blew me away when they’d do that. I always felt like I was getting something quite special. But times have changed. The Freebie is now the norm and even famous authors are jumping on this bandwagon… You see freebie short stories on their sites, chapters of their upcoming books on their newsletters, free contests and give-aways… The question is, why?

Is it because we’re all just trying to build fan bases? Trying to eek through the clutter of the millions of books out there? Is it because the big publishing houses are making it even more difficult for new authors to make a splash in the literary world? Is it because literary agents are taking on less and less clients? I think it’s all of the above.

I love the idea of getting my new book release in the hands of readers who may never get a chance to know me because I personally don’t have $10,000+ dollars to advertise like the big houses would. What’s disappointing though is that nowadays the dream of making a living as a writer has dwindled, especially when the majority of our “sales” are “free.” I’ve heard of authors whose promotions were so successful they gave away books in the thousands. I’m not talking 1,000, or 5,000, or 45,000, but over 100,000 free copies of their novel. And these are excellent books that twenty years ago readers would have happily shelled out $25 for a hard copy and $6.99 for a soft cover paperback had it been backed by a big house. Can you imagine a publishing house’s reaction to a 100,000 book download in a single weekend? If an indie can generate that kind of success, no wonder they’re scared. How do the big houses compete and get people to pay for their books if we’re willing to give ours away for free? It’s a catch-22. Of course, we’re doing this to generate fans so that they hopefully come back and purchase our other books. Other books we’re still selling for only $2.99 or $3.99 max.

So, that said, I’m jumping in and doing another freebie (Oct 10 – Oct 13) of Book #1 in my epic Dark Fantasy series. It’s called THE WORLD OF KAROV and I’ve gotten 20 wonderful reviews and I have Book #2 in the series, THE RUBY AMULET, launching in November.

Please come on over to my author page at for updates and follow me on twitter at And if you do download the book, I’d love it if you could give it a review on Amazon and Goodreads. The most valuable gift a reader can give a writer, besides purchasing and reading their book, is to write a review or share the book with others. You have no idea how helpful it is. It helps with analytics, google searches and enables the author to get on specific websites because their books have a certain number of reviews.

So thank you, I hope you come over and get your copy. 10/10 – 10/13 on Amazon! Here’s the trailer to learn more about it:

20 thoughts on “Freebies – Oh, how times have changed….

  1. Good luck with it, Elyse. I do the same thing – I think freebies work well with the first of a series and gives a chance for more readers to get their hands on your book – it all takes time, and then MORE time. I don’t know how long it takes before an author can make a living, I’m a long way from there yet (I suspect it may take decades. I hope not, but it certainly feels that way). Hang in there. 🙂

  2. Good luck! I’ve never had huge success with freebies, but I still do it. 100,000 would be a nice start. 😛 I’ll be there for your freebie days and am working on the details of my own…again…just to see. 🙂

  3. Freebies are tricky things. I have done freebies and thousands of people have downloaded my book… but I just got 31 reviews in more than a year and my sales are not good. So I don’t think that I will ever do a freebie promotion. Good luck with yours!

  4. The decision to go free is a struggle within all of us writers. Good luck with your upcoming promo! I will be there to spread the word. 🙂

    • I’m giving it one last try! With the sequel coming out next month, my hope is that it generates enough interest that readers will pick up book #2 on their own. Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. I’ve been writing for decades. I stopped giving freebies unless there’s something special going on. They didn’t seem to help except for getting a short story I wrote to #1 bestseller on Amazon, Weeping Willows.

  6. Congrats and best of luck! I am getting ready to self-pub for the first time soon. Found your post to be very helpful and inspiring! The industry certainly is changing.

  7. Freebies can be a blessing or a bane. My publisher won’t do it. She controls book 1 in our series and my co-author has suggested we self-publish so we have more control of our marketing and royalty returns. I would love to lower the price of book 1 for the release of book 2 but that isn’t going to happen. I may suggest it again, but… Now, as to your trailer – WOW! Great music, ambiance, the whole thing. Great trailer. It really grabs and has the flavor of the novel.

    • Yes, that is the real problem with having a series with a publisher – you can’t dictate what you can do with it. It’s a shame… almost makes you wish you could consider writing a whole new first book with different characters so you can continue the series with different people…

  8. I look on freebies as a vehicle to get reviews. In our experience the readers who download free books write more reviews. I don’t understand it but I am going to be running a freebie this week and will see if this theory plays out. I prefer .99 sales since the book isn’t dumped back into oblivion once the sale is over.

    • I ceretainly hope I’ll get reviews – I’ve given away a total of 800 books and gotten 2 reviews from it… fingers crossed this generates a bit more. I’ll also be letting the book then live at $0.99 for it’s lifetime. Thanks so much for commenting!

  9. Hey Elise! Best of luck to you on this! I hope it’s a tremendous success in every sense – fulfilling and money-making. The music on that trailer is awesome! Great job! I too, don’t believe I’ll ever do freebies – not through Amazon, or anything like that. I offer my Ah Ha Moments for free when people subscribe, but that’s about as far as I’ll go, because I am a non-fiction writer… so people will only get the book if they want to read about the subject anyway – free or not… But I’ve seen it work to increase author’s status as bestselling authors… so it’s a good marketing and PR move. But keep us posted on how it goes!

    • I think it’s like you say – it increases our status and a nice PR move – as a newly released indie writer, I’m looking for anything that will eventually move the needle. Thanks so much for commenting!

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