Do free sample downloads hurt or help a new book?
My belief is that, now more than ever, free sample downloads help to sell readers on your book, especially if they haven’t gotten to know you yet as an author. Readers today are pinching pennies just like everyone else, and before they pay good money for a book by an author they haven’t read before, they want to know whether or not they’ll like it. They want to read a sample—and often, a bigger sample than the few pages they might see on Amazon.
Sampling is a time-tested successful marketing technique. Food kiosks at the mall offer you a bite of their best dish because they know that if you like one bite, you’ll come back for the whole platter. Retailers and service providers offer free samples for the same reason. A free sample overcomes resistance and makes it risk-free to give something new a try.
A growing number of authors don’t just stop with free excerpts; they offer the whole book for free, and report that doing so helps, rather than hurts, sales. Scott Sigler and Cory Doctorow are among the loudest proponents, but many other authors have also commented on the effect.
In my own experience, not only does offering free sample excerpts of my own books boost readership and sales, but when I offer (with permission of the authors) special online events with free samples from my author friends’ books, the whole online event gains more visibility and everyone wins with more web traffic. Check out my Days of the Dead blog tour that’s going on right now, and you’ll see seven different sample excerpts of my own books, plus samples from 13 participating authors. Everyone wins!
What do you think about free excerpts and sample downloads? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for reading this post—it’s part of my week-long Days of the Dead blog tour, so please catch the rest of my posts, contests, giveaways and goodies at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com and my other partner sites. You’ll also find free downloads from my books, as well as freebies from some of my author friends as Trick-or-Treat favors. Download Vampires Inc. by Rick Taubold & Chris R. Hosey (Trick-or-Treat goody #9 www.double-dragon-ebooks.com\free\vampireinc.pdf ) plus a preview chapter of my new book, The Sworn http://www.chroniclesofthenecromancer.com/TheSworn.html
Upcoming 2010/2011 Dark Lady's Chosen Book Tour Dates: October 17-19: October Carolina Renaissance Festival October 25 - 31: Days of the Dead Blog Tour December 4: Barnes & Noble, Carolina Place mall December 11: Books A Million, Concord Mills January 14 – 17, 2011: Arisia, Boston, MA January 21-23, 2011: Chattacon, Chattanooga, TN
I was just at StellarCon in High Point. It’s a great con with a lot of opportunities to really talk with people. Spent time with friends James Maxey, Ed Schubert, Rich Sigfrit, Mur Lafftery, Davey Beauchamp, Tony Ruggiero and others. But don’t take my word for it—watch the vlog! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4owCApofkVY
Next weekend, I’m at LunaCon in Hyde Park, NY.
Just got my invitation to return to the Carolina Renaissance Festival in October. Still working out the… Continue
Congratulations on your fantasy series, The Chronicles of The Necromancer with The Summoner and The Blood King. I just wanted to mention to you a website I built called AlreadyPublished.com. It's for authors to promote their book. You do so by posting your book's first chapter, giving readers a peek into your book. The site is free and the list of books is growing, so please check it out. :) BTW, good luck with your books!
p.s. You can also check out this blog post on the Already Published Ning Network, I explain how to post your book. You can also learn more about the website there.