This week the topic is:

What’s your opinion on authors giving away their books for free?

My opinion changes on this one.  To start with I decided not to give away any books for free.  I came to the conclusion that $1.95 (the price I settled on in 2015) was not too much to pay for one of my books, and readers did buy a fair few.  In 2015 I sold 1142 books, and just under 1000 in 2016 (in August 2016 I had my best ever month at 179 books sold).

Then the rot set in during 2017 with pirated copies everywhere on the Internet.  I received almost daily Google notifications that my books were ‘free’ for downloading, even though I had not authorised this. I decided to try and draw honest readers in by offering one of my books for free during February, March and May 2017.  All in all I had 6577 downloads, but the amount of actual books sold dropped to 642.  I didn’t offer any more books for free during 2017.

It wasn’t until a year later that I slowly started dispensing with Kindle Unlimited and adding all my books to Draft2Digital so that they could be sold on various digital outlets.  At the moment ‘The Pilates Class’ is free on many digital sites (except Amazon), in the hope that readers will download it and then be interested in one or more of my other books for sale.  So far ‘The Pilates Class’ has only been free for a couple of weeks, so the jury is out so to speak about whether the whole exercise is worth it.

Do I think it’s a good idea to offer free books?  With all the pirated copies out there, authors might as well offer at least one to draw readers in.  As I see it, the book would then be downloaded from an authorised site!  The thing to do I suppose is offer the first book in a series for free, but to date I haven’t yet written a series.

We can’t beat them, so we might as well join them.  I gave up with Blasty, who to begin with sent me daily messages listing another 500 sites offering my books for free.  After a while when I stopped visiting the site, strangely enough they stopped sending me any more messages.  This makes me wonder whether the notifications were actually genuine, or whether they just wanted me to pay a monthly fee.

Do you think that offering free books is a good idea?  Click on the link below to see what other blog-hoppers think, or you can add a comment or blog of your own on the subject.


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