Although it might seem counterintuitive, making one of your books permanently free can be a savvy marketing move. If you have a large backlist of books, a permafree book is a great way to entice new readers, increase your exposure, and drive sales for your other books. We’ve already discussed the benefits of free ebook promotions, and offering one of your books for free permanently can help you accomplish many of the same marketing goals. Here, we’ll discuss the reasons why you should consider making one of your books permafree, and how to do it.
You Should Consider Making an Ebook Permafree if…
1. You want to grow your audience
Making one of your books permafree can be an excellent way to attract new readers. Readers are far more likely to take a chance on a new author if a book is free. In fact, BookBub readers are 10 times more likely to click on a book that’s offered for free than a discounted book. The free titles we feature often get tens of thousands of downloads, which means your book will be in the hands of tens of thousands of readers you might not otherwise have reached!
And those readers don’t just download books idly — 60 percent of surveyed readers say they always read the discounted books they’ve discovered. This exposure can have a huge impact on the sales of your other books. More than 60 percent of surveyed readers said after downloading an author’s book for free, they later purchased another book by that author .
2. You’ve written a series or you have a large backlist
Readers are very likely to buy other books by an author after downloading one of that author’s books for free, and this is especially true if the free book is part of a series. More than 75 percent of our authors reported higher sales of their other books after a free BookBub promotion, with an average gain in sales of over 100 percent. That increase is up to 5 times higher when the free book is part of a series. If you offer the first book of your series for free, you’ll attract a lot of new readers. And if they like the first book, they’ll be clamoring to buy the next one!
One way to maximize the marketing value of a permafree book is to use the back matter to promote your backlist or your author brand. You can link readers directly to your other books, or prompt them to follow you on Twitter or sign up for your mailing list.
3. You want to increase your exposure
Any price promotion will give you more visibility, but free books get 10 times the response rate of discounted ones. All those downloads can drive your book up retailers’ free bestseller lists, and your new readers will spread the word about your book, too. More than 70 percent of our surveyed readers have recommended a free book they found on BookBub to a friend.
Word of mouth can be hard to measure, but free promotions also increase concrete measures of exposure. Over 70 percent of our partners reported an increase in reviews, Facebook likes, and email list signups after a price promotion, and free promotions had an even bigger impact. Authors who offered their books for free were over 20 percent more likely to report increases in these measures of exposure than those who discounted their books.
How to Make Your Ebook Permafree
Some retailers, like Amazon, don’t allow you to permanently set your book’s price to $0.00. In order to make your book free for an extended period of time, you need to rely on price matching, which can be unpredictable or take a long time to go into effect. Retailers like Kobo will let you manually make your book free, but you need to guarantee that other ebook vendors will follow suit. Here is the best way to get Amazon and other retailers to price match to free:
1. Sign up for a service like Smashwords or Draft2Digital
These tools let you make your book free at retailers like Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Flipkart (Smashwords only), and Kobo.
2. Set your book’s price to free
After your book is uploaded to one of these sites, set your list price to $0.00 and they’ll update the price at your retailers.
3. Notify Amazon of the better price
Once your book is available for free at other retailers, there are two ways to alert Amazon about the lower price.
Option 1: Use the tell us about a lower price button. You may need to enlist family, friends, or other authors for help and ask them to report the lower prices, too. Amazon can sometimes take a while to acknowledge these requests.
Option 2: Email Amazon directly and tell them the other channels where your book is available for free. In your KDP Account, select Help and Contact Us. Under the Pricing and Royalties category on the left, select Price Matching as your topic, and provide them with the links to the retailers where your book is free in the message.
Make sure you notify Amazon about each country where your book is free. Provide links to your book in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia in order to get Amazon to match in those regions as well. You can find out how to get links to your book on international retailers here.
How have you had the most success getting Amazon to price-match? Let us know in the comments below!
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