Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writers' Wednesday: My Experiment with Perma-Free

"A beautifully original story. Loved the characters. I picked it up as a free book. But it would be worth the money. I would love to find a place like Paradise. So well written you can feel yourself standing among the story unfolding. Wonderfully heartwarming love story. Highly recommended."

For indie authors, making a book "perma-free" is one of many marketing options. Basically this means offering a book for free, indefinitely. Ideally it's one in a series, so if readers like the story, they will go out and spend money on the others in the series.

For a while, I wasn't sure what I thought about this concept – I mean, we work hard on our books! I didn't know if I wanted to just give a title away. But The Promise of Paradise has been out for a year now, and done relatively well sales-wise, so I thought I'd give it a try. First off, though, you can't just set a book's price to $0.00 on Amazon (if you participate in the Amazon KDP program, you can offer your book for free for 5 days every 3 months, but I wanted to see what would happen for a longer period of time). So you have to "price match," which basically means making it free in other sales channels (like Smashwords, the popular website for indie authors) and then hope once sites like Barnes and Noble or Sony make it free, Amazon will follow suit.

It took about a week, but Amazon did finally make The Promise of Paradise free. This happened one week ago Tuesday. Within a day, it was climbing some of Amazon's "Top Free" lists, and by Thursday it was #1 in Women's Fiction and Romance. I think it got as high as #45 on the Top Free overall list. Not bad, especially since I didn't do a whole lot of marketing besides tweeting and posting on Facebook about it.

BookBub, a popular email subscription service authors can pay to have their titles listed with, gives a range of 21,000 for Contemporary Romance downloads and 14,000 for Women's Fiction downloads if you advertise with them. In the week it's been free, I've had just over 8000 downloads of The Promise of Paradise, so I'm pretty happy with that (since I've spent $0 on advertising it). Beyond that, I've sold an additional 30 books of Beacon of Love, my other new title, and I attribute those sales to the free downloads, since I do have an excerpt in the back of The Promise of Paradise and tell readers that they'll see a familiar character in Beacon of Love.

Another plus: I've gotten 4 new 5-star reviews on Amazon, which is terrific. That means that The Promise of Paradise is getting to people who have never read anything by me before and will hopefully want to read more.

It turns out the perma-free thing has more benefits than I would have thought. Certainly sales of my other books aren't through the roof, but they've definitely picked up. I'm reaching new readers. And I'm still in the Top 10 of both Free lists in Women's Fiction and Romance, which means many Amazon customers are seeing the title when they're browsing those categories. The fun thing is that I have control over all of this – another plus when it comes to indie publishing! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Mentionables: New Reviews and a Book Club!

Happy Monday, everyone! What's worth mentioning today? Well, let's see...

There's a lovely new 5-star review of Beacon of Love posted over at Sinfully Tasty Reads :) Big thanks to Debbie who said, "This was the perfect mix of romance meets classic who done it...I loved the chemistry between Sophie and Lucas. They just had a connection right from the start and loved it as the relationship developed. "

I attended a book club yesterday where The Promise of Paradise was the featured read and had a great time chatting about books and reading with the women there. Among the things discussed were that they LOVE series (good thing I have 2 coming out this year!), they love detail when it comes to character and setting, and they will definitely ask questions about a character's back-story and which character is getting his or her own story next. I always love hearing what other people enjoy reading and why they enjoy it.

One more week until the release of Inferno of Love! Don't forget that you can get a peek at Smashwords, where's it up for pre-order AND you can read the opening chapters for free!