Much of my research into digital book promotion suggested that freebies are a great way to get new readers to take a chance on your work, inspire good will with a potential long term readership, and create buzz for your work as a whole and you as an author. It’s also very easy to do with digital work, simple as giving away ones and zeros.
Is it effective? I’ve given away over 1,500 digital copies this year between Amazon and my website, and I’ve yet to see it pay off for me … at least in the short term.
The opposing theory about freebies is that they devalue your work and foster a sense entitlement in your readership. I think this is true to a point. I know some readers who never pay for books because they never have to. There are so many free books available (not even counting piracy sites) that they could read non-stop for the rest of their lives and never run out of free books. I also know readers who will go on to buy your other work after reading and liking something of yours they got for free.
I will continue to offer freebies for a while, at least until all of my digital chaps are out of Kindle Unlimited. After that I’m going to reevaluate the practice. The free flash fiction on Knightmares is another thing. I happen to enjoy doing them and don’t mind giving those away, so they will continue indefinitely.
That said, my digital Humor/Crime chapbook Big Trouble in Little Boots is free on Amazon from May 17th (today) until May 21st. Get it while the gettin’s free!