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View Full Version : A free short...where should I offer it?



Celeste Carrara
06-04-2013, 06:28 PM
I have a series out that I self published. (Its erotic paranormal romance) Currently there are 4 ebooks available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo & All Romance eBooks.

I wrote a short story about 2 characters that are mentioned in the 1st & 2nd book. It's a M/M erotic paranormal romance.

I want to offer this for free. I think it'll help bring interest to the series. My question is, where should I offer it? Should I do KDP select? If I offer it on Amazon non select can I then offer it at all the other places my books are sold, for free? I've never looked into what other sites rules are for a free short.

Another question if you guys don't mind. Any advice if this is a smart move? The short story can stand on it's own but it does help the reader if they read the other books. Is it a bad idea to offer this for free?

Thanks for any help you all can provide!

J. Tanner
06-04-2013, 08:08 PM
The most value will come from free on all channels where the books are for sale, plus on your web site (if you have one where a freebie would feel appropriate.)

Direct2Digital is the fastest way to free on Apple and Kobo. Smashwords is the only option for B&N. Kobo also allows it direct. Getting it on any of them will often lead to price matching among the others but "often" isn't "always." I'm not familiar with ARE's policies.

Amazon is the stickler. If you use KDP Select, you sacrifice all the other markets and it's only free for 5 days per 90. The only other option is price matching, and the ethical choice of whether you will potentially violate the TOS. (Amazon CS is increasingly split on whether it's actually a violation. You cannot get a consistent answer so it becomes a personal judgment call.)

A number of writers have had success with the concept, but, as usual, nothing in a guarantee in publishing.

I think it's a smart move. (My personal experimenting with free has been a mixed bag.)

PS. Get all your books on Apple through D2D or SW.

shelleyo
06-04-2013, 09:25 PM
I second the advice to put it everywhere unless you want to be able to have it only on Amazon for 90 days.



Direct2Digital is the fastest way to free on Apple and Kobo. Smashwords is the only option for B&N. Kobo also allows it direct.

Go Direct with Kobo, not through D2D. Don't give up that much control--Smashwords can be notoriously slow about changes, pulling titles, adding them etc. Put it up at Amazon for 99 cents. Once it's up at Kobo, takes maybe a day when you do it yourself, then report the lower price while you're waiting for it to show up on B&N through Smash and Apple through D2D. Report those when they show up.

Amazon price matches Kobo pretty regularly, so you might get lucky and have it happen pretty fast this way.



Getting it on any of them will often lead to price matching among the others but "often" isn't "always." I'm not familiar with ARE's policies.

You can make it free directly on ARe.

Link in your front and back matter to the books in the series. Make this prominent. If you've considered bundling your stories together, when an intro story goes free is a good time to do that. Link prominently to that, if you do.

Celeste Carrara
06-04-2013, 10:02 PM
Thank you both for the advice and info!

I am working now with direct2digital to get all my books on Apple. I don't like Smashwords so I'd rather go with direct2digital.

I currently go direct with my books to the places they are available. So if Iwant the free short on B&N, I have to use a 3rd party like direct2digital?

I am also using Creatspace to get my 1st book in print. Then the other 3, and now the short will be bundled in a print version too. I'm still working on all of that.

So, if I got this right I should, go directly to Kobo & put the free short there. Then put the short on Amazon for .99. Once it's up on Kobo, price match it on Amazon. I can put it for free on my own directly with ARe. Then use direct2digital to put it for free at Apple and I'm out of luck if I want it on B&N if I don't want to use Smashwords. Ok, I think I got that right, yes?

Celeste Carrara
06-04-2013, 10:07 PM
Now I'm wondering if I should just have it available for a free download via my website? Hmmmm

Or, I could just offer it a a bonus in a eBook and print bundle with books 2-4.

I have a lot to think about lol

shelleyo
06-04-2013, 10:17 PM
So, if I got this right I should, go directly to Kobo & put the free short there. Then put the short on Amazon for .99. Once it's up on Kobo, price match it on Amazon. I can put it for free on my own directly with ARe. Then use direct2digital to put it for free at Apple and I'm out of luck if I want it on B&N if I don't want to use Smashwords. Ok, I think I got that right, yes?

Correct, all. You can only get it free on B&N by going through Smashwords (and possibly Lulu.com, though I'm not sure, and getting a book to go through with them is a hassle that's never been worth it for me).

Don't just put it on your website. You're wasting your time. And don't make it a bonus one can only get by purchasing books in a bundle they might have already purchased. Not everyone will go to your website, and if they want the story they can be seriously put off that they'd have to buy a bundle when they might have already paid for one or more of the stories. Don't do anything to peeve readers.

A freebie can make a huge difference as long as it leads readers to the next story/bundle. And don't skip B&N just because you don't like Smashwords. Granted, the genre where this worked for me was erotica with only hints of romance, but having the first story in a trilogy free on B&N increased increased sales 600% from one month to the next. It increased sales at Apple a little bit across my other titles, but I can't judge how much on that particular series because it went up at Apple at the same time as the freebie. It increased sales at Amazon and leads readers to the trilogy, making it my best-selling title with that name and keeping it alive during the great filter-fest of 2013 when all my other titles have been hidden from the general search.

If you want to actually sell books, don't just put it on your site or bundle it. Make it free everywhere--you've got nothing to lose, only sales to gain. If it doesn't work dramatically well, you've still not lost anything, and you never know when it will help.

J. Tanner
06-05-2013, 02:04 AM
As noted, SW is your only real choice for free on B&N unless you get lucky with price match. Some D2D users have noted B&N has matched their Apple/Kobo freebies.

Additionally, since you haven't uploaded yet, I'd recommend waiting on the Amazon upload until the Kobo is live to customers at free. During uploads and changes there anecdotally seems to be better chance of a quick price match. So take the opportunity to get lucky since it'll only cost you a day or so.



Don't just put it on your website. You're wasting your time. And don't make it a bonus one can only get by purchasing books in a bundle they might have already purchased.

I think this is already what you mean but just in case:

These things are fine in addition to getting it up first on the retail sites. They are not a good alternative to the retail sites.

shelleyo
06-05-2013, 02:42 AM
As noted, SW is your only real choice for free on B&N unless you get lucky with price match. Some D2D users have noted B&N has matched their Apple/Kobo freebies.

B&N has never price-matched, so this is pretty interesting. If true, maybe it's the first step in B&N letting D2D users go free like they do with Smash users. Do you know if these are Pubit/Nook Press direct titles or are they at B&N through D2D?


Additionally, since you haven't uploaded yet, I'd recommend waiting on the Amazon upload until the Kobo is live to customers at free. During uploads and changes there anecdotally seems to be better chance of a quick price match. So take the opportunity to get lucky since it'll only cost you a day or so.

This is certainly possible. Mine didn't go up at Amazon until it was free at Kobo, I set it to 99 cents and immediately reported the freebie (and had a friend in another counry do it who has purchased through the .com, as well). That was it. It was free in less than a week. I may have just been lucky, but if I wanted another freebie I'd follow the same pattern.


I think this is already what you mean but just in case:

These things are fine in addition to getting it up first on the retail sites. They are not a good alternative to the retail sites.

Yes, I meant don't only do those things. But personally I wouldn't put it free on my website anyway. I'd offer links to all the versions where it's available free instead, versions they download to their computer or ereader already made with handy links to the rest.

You could also use it as enticement to get people to sign up for your newsletter by offering to send it to each person who signs up. Might as well get as much as you can out of it. :)

Celeste Carrara
06-05-2013, 02:46 AM
So much great advice and info! Thank you both so much!!

J. Tanner
06-05-2013, 03:22 AM
B&N has never price-matched, so this is pretty interesting. If true, maybe it's the first step in B&N letting D2D users go free like they do with Smash users. Do you know if these are Pubit/Nook Press direct titles or are they at B&N through D2D?

It's possible I misread if you haven't seen similar anecdotes. I'm pretty sure you're following the same discussions elsewhere I am.

I believe D2D vs SW is a completely different thing being contractual in each case with B&N and pricematching (whether I'm right or wrong) should be unrelated.



Yes, I meant don't only do those things. But personally I wouldn't put it free on my website anyway. I'd offer links to all the versions where it's available free instead, versions they download to their computer or ereader already made with handy links to the rest.

You could also use it as enticement to get people to sign up for your newsletter by offering to send it to each person who signs up. Might as well get as much as you can out of it. :)

Those are good ideas. I've been tinkering for a while on a series of related shorts and putting an exclusive(ish) short-short in the mailing list reminder for new episodes has been part of the plan to see if it generates sign-ups.

shelleyo
06-05-2013, 04:25 AM
It's possible I misread if you haven't seen similar anecdotes. I'm pretty sure you're following the same discussions elsewhere I am.

I believe D2D vs SW is a completely different thing being contractual in each case with B&N and pricematching (whether I'm right or wrong) should be unrelated.

Yeah, B&N won't let D2D users price to free, only 99 cents. I'm hoping that'll change soon enough. And B&N doesn't price-match other retailers, unfortunately. It's probably a good thing, or people trying to change prices could get stuck in an endless loop. So it's Smash to go free there. Lulu might have the ability to put you free on B&N. I haven't checked, but getting a file approved for distribution through Lulu is as pleasant as an eye gouge anyway.


Those are good ideas. I've been tinkering for a while on a series of related shorts and putting an exclusive(ish) short-short in the mailing list reminder for new episodes has been part of the plan to see if it generates sign-ups.

It can't hurt!