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View Full Version : Another experiment the benefit of freebies



Michael Davis
05-22-2012, 02:14 PM
Time to time I evaluate opportunities for improving book sales, and share the results. Well, over the past eight months I’ve read a bunch of posts and web articles about using freebies to draw potential customers in to increase sales on your other books. In the last six years since I started writing fiction I’ve learned what may (or maybe not) work for some, does not always work form me. Case in point, Social networks, Newsletters, and contests are often touted as great marketing avenues, but weren’t worth the effort for me personally.

To that end I decided to evaluate the benefit of using free books to generate interest in my other stories. Since my novels are contracted by a publisher, I don’t have the latitude to offer my books for free. Instead, I worked with a team of 18 other published authors to assembly a free cookbook entitled “Recipes from the Vineyard”. The E formatted product contains about forty recipes from around the world with the stories behind how they’re connected to the lives or books of the authors. Took a while to complete and upload to free book sites, but here’s the results.

Outlets – Within two weeks of being finished the book was available for free on about four dozen free download sites, listing sites, blogs, and author sites.

Good news – Each week I track the deep hits into my website (those that visit reviews, excerpts, and buy locations). On average in the last 12 weeks before offering the book for free, the average ratio of visitors that exited via a buy location was 16%. In the 8 weeks since it was made available the fraction of visitors that exited by a buy source were recorded as follows: 33%, 40, 62, 43, 72, 69, 36, and 27. A clear and prolonged jump in customer interest. I expected some improvement, but not as significant as observed. I won’t be able to translate to actual loyalty increments for four months (due to royalty cycle), but generally about 60% to 70% of exits to buy sources translate into actual sales.

Bad news – The benefit appears to have a natural life span. Notice after six weeks the improvement begins to tapper off. Makes sense given you likely hit a significant portion of the potential audience at the freebie sites that wait for new free books to become available. Other articles/posts I’ve read on this topic seem to observe the same “Die off” affect for such activities.

Hope you find this info helpful. If ya want a copy of the cookbook, there’s a link at the bottom of my home page (Davisstories.com (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/Davisstories.com)) that’ll take ya to a site where ya can download for free (price = $0.0)