NEWSFLASH: Zero Sum, Book 1, Kotov Syndrome, my Wall Street thriller serial trilogy, has just been reviewed by acclaimed author Steven Konkoly, whose The Jakarta Pandemic just got its 100th Amazon review, and who just released Black Flagged. The review is a wonderful deconstruction of the trilogy, and is recommended reading for one and all.

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Justin Bogdanovitch just published a poignant and touching review of An Angel With Fur. It’s really a must-read review. And the Pet Wall also gets spotlight coverage at Justin Bogdanovitch’s blog. Great pooch photos too. And the book is currently back in the #2 position in Animal Essays on Amazon UK!

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I have had a number of comments from author buddies that question the wisdom of offering Book 1 of Zero Sum, Kotov Syndrome, for free.

The sentiments range anywhere from the idea that it cheapens the perceived value of the work, to that I deserve compensation for my efforts, to that I will attract a type of reader who expects something for nothing, and thus won’t have any legacy value.

So I started to think through the question, and I can see both sides of it.

On the one hand, you have the largest single hurdle as a new author, which is generating name recognition and building a base of readers who will ultimately appreciate, like, and buy your work. It would seem to me that offering some of that work for free isn’t a bad way to crack the nut of getting decent exposure. With Zero Sum, Book 1, I decided to offer the first book in my serial trilogy for free, figuring that would give readers a chance to see whether they like my work or not. If so, super, perhaps they’ll convert into fans and purchase other work. If not, I haven’t really lost anything, as they likely wouldn’t have bought anything at any price.

But it does raise an interesting question; namely, is it a good idea to give your work away to generate buzz and get exposure?

The marketing guy in me says, hell yes. Every business has a marketing budget, and when breaking into new markets, you have to spend money to make money. So the value of the work you give away is part of your sunk cost into marketing. It’s like offering a loss leader, in the hopes that enough qualified buyers will become familiar with your work to convert into legacy customers over time. It’s why manufacturers do free tastings at Costco, or drug dealers give you the first time for free.

The author in me says, if I’m going to invest countless hours into creating a compelling work, and then further invest my money into hiring qualified editing and developing a professional cover, then I should get paid for going that distance. There are plenty of poorly written, badly or unedited works with horrendous or free covers, and I’ve taken the expensive steps to elevate my product above that bunch. Thus, the product is worth something, and then the battle becomes what is the product worth? That’s a different question. The point is, the artisan in me would like to be compensated for delivering value.

But the marketing guy says, screw it, give it away!

So what do you think? Where do you stand on the subject? What’s your take? Is giving away a part of a trilogy a viable marketing strategy, or cheapening the work? Or should you just give an entire 150K word novel away free? By giving product away for free, am I likely to attract perennially dissatisfied cheapskates who expect everything for free, and who troll the kindle store and the web for freebies? I can certainly appreciate that there’s a subset of folks that expect everything for nothing, just as there’s a subset who sue when coffee is served hot. I naively believe in human nature, and believe that most people will not have a problem buying work once they believe it has the quality they’re looking for. Yes, there will always be those looking to take advantage, or who feel entitled to everything for free because they’ve gotten free stuff before, but in the end, I think most adults, and certainly most erudite adults sufficiently literate to read a lot, are basically fair, and will have no problem exchanging value for value. There will always be predators and malcontents, but I tend to believe most aren’t.

But where do you stand? What do you think? What are you willing to do to get exposure, and what aren’t you?

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Comments

  1. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 4:12 am

    I say, no. But that’s as a competitor, people fill up their Kindles and Nooks with freebies instead of BUYING a book which supports another writer. I see it as marketing but if they don’t your style they never purchase anything else from you and you miss out on what you could have made.
    I think we are hurting each other..though it .might be good for you.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 5:03 am

      Interesting. But that assumes a zero sum game, where if someone downloads 1 book free, they don’t buy another. With something like 60 or 70 million eReaders out there by the end of the year (that might be high, or low, but whatever) isn’t zero sum thinking sort of innately obsolete? That’s a rapidly growing content demand. Isn’t there enough demand to sop up the supply?

      Reply
  2. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 7:45 am

    I got the Kotov Syndrome 1 free, but I have not read it yet. Not because I got it for free but because I’ve got other things to read an finite reading time.
    I believe it makes sense both as a writer and marketing strategy. I’ve read thousands of books for free or almost for free. Borrowed from friends, borrowed from the library, bought second hand etc.
    If I love the author then I will buy a new book But this is a long term strategy. I would say that a writer should see it as lending books to potential new friends.

    Reply
  3. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I recently wrote a post about this on my blog. I put an eBook up for free, just a short story, on Amazon. It “sold” around 4,800 copies. When I looked at the “People who bought this also bought…” section, it shows all freebie. My conclusion is that most of the people who “bought” it were just looking for a free read, and they most like let it sit on their Kindle. Whereas those who buy a book probably have a better tendency to read it since they spent the money.

    But there is a positive side to this. Because so many people bought the book, it dug deeper into Amazon’s algorithms. So the book is recommended more to people and I saw some paid sales from it once it wasn’t free anymore.

    It’s a toss up as to it being a positive or a negative. But I would say you’re better off doing it with a book that is part of a series than for a a standalone story.

    Reply
    • Susan Stec  –  Tue 08th Nov 2011 at 5:22 pm

      I have to say I agree Mr. Young.

      Reply
  4. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I agree with Gerhi. An author who gives away books for free should not expect a return on his marketing strategy for at least a couple years. Some newer authors tend to think that getting their books to as many readers as possible automatically enlarges their audience – not always the case. High quality and knowing your reader is essential.

    Reply
  5. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 2:59 pm

    there are different categories of freebie seekers. There are the folks who simply are “filling up their kindle” with books they will never read. But then there are those who looked at your book, thought it was interesting, and downloaded it. I have been in both groups…starting in the “hey its free” group when I first got my kindle, but then moved to the must be interested first group.

    I think the real question is does totally free really give you more of the folks who will actually read your book than say the .99 or 2.99 price point?

    When i see free now, I think “author who is trying to hook me in at a low price.” To be honest when I see .99 I see the same thing. And because Kindle purchases are such an impulse buy, I am not sure that my trigger is slower for .99 versus free.

    For that reason, when I finally get in the game, I will probably offer my “impulse” first novel for .99 rather than free. Might as well get something. But as in anything “Internet Marketing” related, you must test to find out the real answer.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Definitely a difficult choice to make. I’ve experimented all over the board, and while my sales are increasing steadily, and while I sell more books at .99, net has stayed roughly the same – I just need to sell a lot more books to make the same buck at .99. I’m in this for the long haul, so I’m less worried about monthly sales and more worried about exposure, which is why free has appeal to me. But there are probably a million valid approaches.

      Reply
  6. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 3:50 pm

    A very good analysis of the problem. I think you make a number of valid points on both sides of the argument, but I do think that the situation (for any author on a personal level) is very different when you are talking about book 1 of a trilogy rather than a single, stand-alone novel. Is the whole “episode 1″ free as a taster so very different from Amazons “look inside”, or the first 10% free as a “taster”? My view is, no it’s not.

    As to Jodi’s point above, I understand that only too well, but then, how many additional readers will be encouraged to take up eReading (as distinct from readers of paperbacks) and will therefore increase the chances of other authors gaining extra sales.

    The whole subject is stuffed full with “what ifs” and “but that means” and the fact is that, in the end, each of us must do what we feel is best for us – particularly those authors who are less than well known and need to build a name for themselves.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 11:35 pm

      So then the question is, does the marketing change what we write?

      As an example, I am writing another serial trilogy, and am letting the story run 150K+ words, on my next one, The Delphi Chronicle. I’m doing that to experiment with the concept of serial trilogies as marketing tools. So in one way, it’s caused me to rethink book length and beats, and create two or three books instead of one, which both expands the amount of description and backstory I feel comfortable creating, as well as places a much larger burden on me as an author, as well as the editor.

      The books after that will be stand alone affairs, although I will probably serialize two of the characters – Dr. Steven Cross, from Zero Sum, the amateur cryptologist, and Michael Derrigan, from The Delphi Chronicle. It’s much easier on me to write a stand-alone 90K word novel with a recurring character, than 150K+ group of related books or continuing saga, so that’s what I’ll return to. In the end though, I think that some stories are just longer, and can be broken up better. Delphi just wants to run much longer, so I’m not fighting it.

      Reply
      • Adam Frayle  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 11:53 pm

        Good points. I personally think you’re right (if I’ve understood correctly) – in the end, you should write what you write and just hope the market approves.

        However, there’s nothing to stop you (perhaps) also creating a free version of a story that “feels” complete, but yet leaves the reader wanting more, which is the full length and version that must be paid for – a sort of novella to act as a taster for the complete work.

        Kathy Lynn Hall (next comment) has a good point, but there’s nothing to say that this in any way detracts from the number of genuine sales and maybe even adds a few in the longer term.

        The sad truth I think you have to face is that (relatively speaking) very few authors make a decent full time living from writing and you have to do SOMETHING to push your work forward in the hope that you just might become a household name. Being the best is very unlikely to make you a penny however wonderful you are, being the best known almost certainly will if your work is even adequate. Financially at least, does it really matter if you’ve written twenty free books, if that enables you to become a paid bestseller with the twenty first (if you’re lucky)?

        Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 1:36 am

          I suppose the other question is whether writing three books in the 50K each range, which by design don’t feel complete as they are serials, is a legitimate approach. I feel it is, as if I’m 50K into a story and liked it that far, I’m OK buying the next installment. I’m sure there are some who feel they somehow got cheated by discovering someone whose writing they like enough to stay with it that far, but who didn’t give them the whole trilogy free. You can’t please everyone or you’ll please no one.

          Agreed that if you are Snooki you will get a book deal, but if you’re, well, Russell Blake, you won’t. Then again, I haven’t shopped my new work because I believe the tradpub route is over before long, or at least will radically change. So I scribble and try what I can to get folks to notice…

          Reply
  7. Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 8:24 pm

    This is a just a gut reaction, no basis in fact, but it feels like there are so many freebies online right now that the freebie seeker downloads a bunch and maybe gets around to reading them. Maybe not. Meantime, here comes another bunch of free books.

    It’s not that it’s not a viable marketing strategy – it’s that there are so many doing it – that what should be a treasured chance at a great deal becomes an everyday thing.

    I think this dynamic is evidenced by the sudden influx of $.99 books in response to John Locke’s book, causing a wave of books at a great price – so who to choose. I think that’s already scaled back a bit as authors have realized they are just one of many.

    I hope you’ll share your results with us. I’d love to know if the strategy works for you. Good luck, Russell, and thank you for bringing this forward in a forum where we can respond. As usual, you’ve really thought this through.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 04th Nov 2011 at 11:27 pm

      You may be right. I think it’s too new to rate for me. I’ve seen significant sales for the books lately, but I also have the cross promotion with David Lender, as well as a host of good reviews, so who the F knows at the end of the day.

      Reply
  8. Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 4:24 am

    To my thinking, “first book of a series free” is, at the moment, the only freebie marketing strategy worthy of the name. But, limited time. For a persistent freebie, perhaps a ‘free introductory novella, followed by a series’, but not every series works with a short book at the start.

    (Likewise, with short story collections, a rotation of free short stories, just for fun, can’t hurt either. )

    I say go for it.

    Reply
  9. Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 4:50 am

    If your book is well-written, professionally edited, and topped off with a professional cover as you claim, I’d say no. Especially when you consider the already low price of the self-published books. Personally, I’ve never understood this marketing strategy of the self-publishing industry. Offer an ample amount of sample pages (roughly 30 pages/3 chapters) to your readers. That is a sufficient amount for the readers to judge the quality of your writing and be “hooked.”

    With that said, it’s refreshing to see someone, who has invested so much time, sweat, and money, willing to offer his work for free. Why? Because there are so many unedited, incoherent, substandard books being published everyday. And for money! Those books give the self/indie pub a bad name. It’s unfair that your book will be in the same category as those, but that doesn’t mean you should resort to giving your book away. If your book is good, your sample pages will do their job of convincing the readers. So, don’t give your books away for free. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 6:13 am

      The problem is that there is a glut of product, much of it bad, but no sorting mechanism to draw in readers to try your sample pages versus the other 50K books with the same approach. I think you could be waiting a long time at that bus stop for someone to drive by and recognize you’re a star.

      My gut says you do what you can to make a name for yourself, and hopefully at some point quality rises to the top. But like most of the arts, there’s no guarantee.

      Reply
    • Jack Urquhart  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 5:22 pm

      You might want to check out the customer discussion thread on Amazon, “How to Avoid Indie Authors”. There are over 2000 posts/complaints covering topics as varied as objectionable indie marketing tactics to what a drag ‘sampling’ has gotten to be. A number of AMZ customers are suggesting indie authors be shunted off to a separate e-store. It’s enlightening, if somewhat depressing, feedback.

      Reply
      • Russell Blake  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 5:46 pm

        I wonder how many of the disgruntled customers work or have relationships with large publishing houses? Wouldn’t be the first time activism was driven by a profit motive.

        Who precisely is hurt by a reader getting a free book, and discovering a new talent? Is the reader? No. If he likes the book, super, he’s now familiar with the work. If he doesn’t like it, then fine, he stops reading and nobody is hurt.

        As far as I can see, the only one threatened by indie authors is the publishing industry. Am I missing something here? I’m in the middle of writing right now, so don’t have the time to go read the comments, but I can bet I can guess what they amount to. Am I of base?

        Reply
      • Russell Blake  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 6:43 pm

        Actually, you hooked me. I went and skimmed the comments, and left my own. It will be interesting to see who vilifies me and who takes a more balanced road.

        Reply
  10. Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 6:51 am

    Mr. Blake, I forgot to add that I’m a professional editor. I also review books. I speak as a reader/reviewer in this when I say that the increasing number of free or 99 cent books along with their substandard quality are making it easier for these books to be grouped into a single category. Sadly, they’re associated with being bad books. I, along with other reviewers and casual readers, forgo most of them. We simply don’t have the time or the patience to trudge through to find the gem among the rocks. In my humble opinion, this strategy isn’t anything new. I sincerely hope that you’ll find the best solution. Again, I wish you luck!

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 05th Nov 2011 at 7:23 am

      Well, I’m not a professional editor, but I write about 10 hours a day, and I have almost no time to read, but I try to. And I agree, it’s tough differentiating oneself in a market saturated with dross. Having said that, I would also offer the thought that we aren’t the market. The market is the 50 million or so and growing folks with eReaders, for whom the price of reading is plummeting, albeit at a cost of quality control slipping as well.

      So the tendency to approach this from the stance of the writer/editor is to bemoan the quality of all those “other” offerings, and to caution not to cheapen our good work. I get that. I’m not arguing it. But I also know that if you don’t tart up and put some lipstick on, and start tapping your feet, you probably aren’t going to get asked to dance. So if it is dancing you want, you have to figure out how you will stand out from the herd of grey sameness that is the morass of eBooks on the market today.

      Do I have the answer? The magic bullet? Nope. I am simply tossing out ideas and questions, sharing my journey with my fellow travelers so we can all stand in horrified fascination at the success or failure of any given approach.

      Personally, I’m sticking a vampire, a puppy, and a blonde on every cover, along with a scratch and sniff as my next promo. You never know what will work until you try…

      Reply
      • Kathy Lynn Hall  –  Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 4:48 am

        This is a great reply, Russell. The idea of “tarting up” got me and I have to say I totally agree. Always have on that point – hence red as in lipstick and high heels – which is my attempt to stand out.

        The number of books out there is overwhelming to me and before I started Twitter I was a four or five book a week gal – and I read everything I could get my hands on – used. Now I pay for the books, because I bought a Kindle and I want to support my fellow writers. About 50% are at least as good as some of the drivel that the major publishers have put out – think Candace Bushnell’s “Trading Up”. Some stink to high heaven. Some are truly outstanding. Some authors I’ve found in that category are yourself, Michael Hicks, Will Bevis, Christina Carson, Dannie C. Hill – all of whom the publishing houses missed their nut if they passed on any of them.

        Anyway – I’m very glad you decided to do this blog.

        Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 6:01 am

          I blush to be in that company, and so highly complimented by so capable a talent as yourself.

          But it does hold true. You want to get picked for the movie, better have a good differentiator. We can all point to lots of actors who can’t act, or bands that are terrible, and know better examples that never made it.

          At the end of the day, I think you have to be a little crazy to do this, as the odds are considerable you won’t make it. Having said that, and understanding that, you also have to get dressed up and tap your feet if you want to have fun on Friday night. Just saying…

          Reply
  11. Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 3:09 am

    My first book is available for $2.99 . Since I already wrote it, I’m not losing anything by making it available for a charge (or not). When I get my second book finished, I’m planning on offering the first one for free with the idea that people will like it and buy the second.

    I buy books all of the time by authors I like, and if I like the first one (whether I got it for free or not) I buy the later ones.

    Reply
  12. Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 5:12 am

    I think giving it away is superb marketing. TOR books must agree because they give away early author works and have for some time. If they didn’t think it paid off, I’m sure they wouldn’t do it.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 5:57 am

      I’m not regretting it so far. But it’s too new to rate.

      Reply
  13. Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 5:44 am

    Having read the comments here, I’ve decided to take my first book,”Smoke and Mirrors” out of the 99c category & put it up to $2.99. There is little doubt that 99c & free seem to be predominately crap.
    I appreciate that you have tried this as a marketing ploy and I hope it works for you, but your work in particular is good and I hate to see it in the ‘el cheapo’ category.
    BTW I paid for Zero Sum Book 1.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 06th Nov 2011 at 5:57 am

      I think the .99 cent thing was gimmicky, and was good for the first guy to get real traction doing it – John Locke. But as I have said numerous times, I haven’t seen anyone else have success with that model, so it could be as simple as right place, right time. I don’t think we’ll ever know.

      I’ve tried .99 promotions, and it does increase sales, but not to the point I much care. I’m going to try one more promo that is unconventional, and we’ll see if that works. I’ll keep you posted when I do it.

      I appreciate your support, and am glad you think my quality is worthy of consideration. Having read one of yours (even though it’s a Sheila book) they’re written well, have good character development, are engaging, and have good plots, so if .99 isn’t getting you a landslide of sales, I’d say you’re better off selling almost none at a price that isn’t insulting than a few at a price that is.

      I think the next 6 months will be interesting.

      Reply
  14. Everett Powers
    Mon 07th Nov 2011 at 1:26 am

    I don’t care for giving my work away for free. But I respect your right to do it and since you are your marketing team, any and all marketing ploys should be tried to increase sales.

    I have about 20 freebies on my iPad. I think I’ve read 2 or 3. I started a whole bunch but ended up setting them aside because I didn’t care for the story. If I’d have paid more than $2 or 3 for each, I’d have been angry, but I would have read more of them through to the end. I also hate to throw good food away that I paid for.

    People do care more for things they’ve paid for and less for things that were free. But you’ll get a few of them to stay and buy, and that’s what you’re looking for.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 07th Nov 2011 at 2:08 am

      I hope to be able to build a sort of spreadsheet at some point to analyze what total percentage of free downloads turn into purchases. One of the beauties of offering a trilogy is that the only folks who are going to buy books 2 and 3 are those who read book 1. So after a month or two, I’m hoping that I will see a trend of number of sales per hundred downloads expressed as a percentage. Whatever number that is, I can then compare to my other sales, and hopefully see whether it was worth it or not.

      My take is that there is no single magic pill, and what works for one person may well not work for another, or any others. I have one more marketing ploy I want to experiment with, and then I’m out of ideas for the time being.

      My goal is to build a following that will buy my books over the next couple of years. If each new purchaser tries and likes my work, a certain percentage will then buy some or all of the rest of my work. So it would seem to me to make sense to try to establish as large a base of familiarity as possible as quickly as possible, and then see what sort of conversion rate occurs.

      I think there are probably many ways to skin the marketing cat, but so far I haven’t seen any that have worked spectacularly well for anyone but atypical singularities. I’m betting those are anomalies, and repeating their steps won’t result in a repetition of their success. I keep asking those who believe, for instance, that Locke’s recipe will work, for any examples other than he for whom the system, such as it is, worked. So far, no examples.

      Thus, I conclude that whatever makes the next success story, will also be a one-time event. So it’s up to each of us to create our own one-time event.

      Reply
  15. Mon 07th Nov 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Russell: This is a great discussion thread.
    I found your blog starting with RABMAD, so first, congrats on supporting a good cause with your writing!

    I find this thread so interesting as a writer who has just started publishing my own fiction (although I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years). I just published two short stories. The first, Sam, the Strawb Part, is $1.99 through all the usual channels. All proceeds go to charity – 100%. Sales have been very slow, even though I have tried to publicize it as much as I can.

    The second was a fun Hallowe’en-themed story, Dark Clouds, which I published for free, through Smashwords, Amazon and on my own blog and website. From what I can tell, there have been about 200 downloads in about 4 weeks.

    That may be an object lesson, or may not. But I am very curious about other writers’ experience.

    Reply
  16. Tue 08th Nov 2011 at 3:21 am

    Thanks for that, Russell, it was very thought-provoking. I have just come to the conclusion that I have absolutely no idea what to think. Since I am quite a ways from that stage, at least as far as works in progress, I guess I have time to consider and weigh the options!

    Reply
  17. Tue 08th Nov 2011 at 11:51 am

    Hey there, my answer is YES give it away IF you have other books for sale. The giveaway is a loss-leader to attract new readers. If the writing is good and they like what they read, they’ll come back and buy the other titles. This is a proven strategy. Rebecca Forster gave away 85,000 copies of HOSTILE WITNESS and landed number one on Amazon. As a result, sales of her backlist skyrocketed. I interviewed her on strategy:http://ashedit.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/rebecca-forster-1-on-amazon/

    Elaine Ash
    Editor
    http://www.ashedit.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 08th Nov 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Well then, I may have to look at that. I hope to have a few more thrillers out over the next 3 months, so perhaps that will be the next experiment.

      Reply
  18. Wed 09th Nov 2011 at 3:35 am

    Great blog and comments. As a co-author of a five book series (soon 7) this is an issue which my co-author and I have argued about. I lean towards offering a freebie or a low cost introductory book. My co-author takes the view this will cheapen the perceived value and I think she’s entitled to a veto. Our books are all priced at 2.99 or more.

    Although offering a free or 99 cent book might cause some to lump it with the ‘rubbish’ you have to admit there are some excellent free or low cost books available.

    John Locke has sold over a million Donavan Creed books at 99c and takes the view that it’s up to the established authors now to prove they offer ten times the value. Lexi Revellian has made it to the top with her 99c ‘Replica’, a very entertaining book.

    Perhaps there’s a case for a temporary reduction in price? After all Amazon has made it easy for authors to quickly change the price. Perhaps too it’s not unreasonable to ask the reader to write a book review if they enjoy the book.

    Reply
  19. Wed 09th Nov 2011 at 2:22 pm

    First of all, I have no real experience upon which to draw, at least in the field of bookselling. I do, however, have extensive experience in sales and customer relations and I am against giving any tangible, concrete product away for free. Give the “concept” away, donate your time, give a percentage away, etc., but never give the actual end result away; in this case, your book. Offer a free short story or prologue to the book, offer a “companion” for free, discount the price if they buy all three, hell, sell the first book at .99, then the other two for more. Dealing with the paying public has made me quite cynical and I firmly believe that many folks will only download the first book because it is free, while the “real” customers would pay .99 because they’re interested in checking you, the author, out. They might not pay 2.99 for the next book, but they’ll fork over .99 for almost anything.

    The purpose to my semi-rant is thus: you, Russell Blake, are a creative human being with great ability and you should never give your product away for free. The only exception is a limited marketing stunt to build buzz in the beginning. This applies to all authors, even the bad ones. We put so much time into the work, I’d say that we’ve already given enough away.

    Besides, you’re really good and, Geez, it’s only .99! Even 2, 3,4 or 5.99! In the end, I bet your sales numbers are about the same, free first book or not.

    Sure, I’ll take it for free…

    But I’d pay the .99 just as easily.

    Down with the clowns.

    Reply
  20. Linda
    Fri 11th Nov 2011 at 12:20 am

    I got Zero Sum, Part 1 for free and absolutely loved it. Because it was free, it exposed me to you as an author. I have tried to purchase parts 2 and 3, but they are not available in epub format, only for the kindle.

    I checked Barnes and Noble, Kobobooks, Sonybooks, smashwords. I would love to be able to purchase these books. Please help make them available for nook! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Fri 11th Nov 2011 at 1:00 am

      Glad you enjoyed it, and apologies. I’ll talk to my tech guy and see that it gets uploaded to smashwords within 24 to 48 hours.

      Reply
      • Linda  –  Fri 11th Nov 2011 at 12:48 pm

        Thank you! You are a very talented author and I look forward to reading all of your books. Your free book created a loyal (and paying) reader. I would never have found your books otherwise.

        Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Fri 11th Nov 2011 at 3:34 pm

          Well thank you. I appreciate it.

          Reply
        • Russell Blake  –  Sat 12th Nov 2011 at 3:38 pm

          I uploaded the bundle of books two and three to Smashwords, so they should be live at any moment. Enjoy!

          Reply
  21. Mon 14th Nov 2011 at 12:40 am

    I have to second the comment of the poster who said that there is a big difference between giving away the first of a trilogy for free and giving away a stand-alone novel.

    Reply
  22. Mon 28th Nov 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I suggest adding a facebook like button for the blog!
    Helen

    Reply

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