eBook giveaway – is it worth it?

I had my doubts about doing an ebook giveaway. Do people value something that’s free? Even if they downloaded it, would they get around to reading it? There are some free or very cheap books out there that are amateurish… books that have never been within ten paces of an editor or proof-reader. Would people presume Daughter, Disappeared was like that? I’m not saying it’s brilliantly written – that’s for the readers to decide – but I spent as much money as I could afford to get it edited, formatted, designed and error-free.

And partly because of the money I’d spent getting it published, the thought of giving it away for nothing was a little heart-breaking.

However, when I took a close look at my total royalty income and total expenditure on facebook advertising, I realised, with a gulp of despair, they were similar – net profit to date was a big fat zero. I was giving them away for free anyway. Oh joy.

Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I always planned to spend more launching my first book to try to give it some momentum. Writing a book is a long-term project, and selling it is, too. This would be helped by widening my readership and as there are lots of readers who understandably don’t want to pay to try a new author, I decided to try a giveaway.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing allows authors to offer five days of free or discounted ebooks every 90 days so I set up a five-day promotion, which I publicised on facebook and twitter, and then waited, vaguely worried that even if it was free nobody would want it.

I was delighted with the results! Over the five days 2,115 free ebooks were downloaded, roughly double the amount I’d sold in the previous six months since publication. Another positive is that during the free promotion, I sold, at £3.99 (of which I get £2.20), twelve ebooks of my other novel, Glasdrum, which is awesome.

Now I’m hanging up my book promotion hat for a while. Having published two books in the last seven months I feel as though all I’ve been doing is marketing and I must admit I’m pretty sick of it.

I’m getting back to writing: early morning sessions have started again, and I am at last thoroughly engrossed in Book 3. I spent an awful lot of time planning out the plot and it’s taken me a while to remember what I learnt with my first two books: just get writing and the characters will take you on the journey. It’s happening again, and earlier than in my first two books – the characters have come alive in my head, like real people I know (maybe it’s because this is a sequel so I already know them) and they have already taken the plot in a slightly unexpected direction. Two of them have fallen in love and I didn’t even see it coming.

Thanks to anyone who downloaded either book – I’d be very grateful if you left a review on Amazon – good or bad – if/when you read it.

4 thoughts on “eBook giveaway – is it worth it?

  1. I’m glad you’re getting back to writing, and I’m also really excited you got so many downloads! It will be interesting to see if it pays off in reviews. Keep us posted?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly will keep you posted. I hoped this might be of interest to other writers who were wondering what kind of results were possible from a giveaway. I was pleased, yes, but I suppose time will tell if it was worth it or not!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, Fiona. I’d never quite understood how freebies helped a writer, but this does make sense. And I’m very conscious that ‘Glasdrum’ is still sitting in my TBR pile – I’m really looking forward to getting into it and will definitely leave a review once I’ve caught up with myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Margaret. I’m still not sure if it was worth it but I am glad to get my book ‘out there’ at least! Thanks also re Glasdrum and don’t worry, I also have a pile of TBRs, struggle to find the time to read, isn’t that awful! F x


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