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Giving Away 10,000 Of My Books On Amazon - Was It A Good Idea?

This week we gave away another 1,000 of our eBooks on I was adding up the numbers and over the last couple of years we have given away more than 10,000 books. This may sound a little crazy, but it is one of the best marketing moves we have made. I have to admit that in the beginning I was not convinced, nor was my business partner Bob Yetman. But, everything I read said that giving away your books for a few days at the time of launch and again two to three times per year is a proven path of success for Kindle authors.


Why Giving Away eBooks Makes Sense

Building A Fan Base

There are principally three benefits gained by giving away eBooks. First, if you are a new author you will be able to build a following. For those looking to build a career by writing eBooks, you need fans. It will be hard in the beginning since there is so much competition. If you have truly put together a great book, giving it away will give you a starting base of followers and fans that will be eager to buy your next one.


Books that have no reviews will languish in the Kindle Store. Think about your own book buying habits. Would you buy the book with fifty or more reviews and an overall decent rating, or would you buy the one with no reviews? Reviews (especially good ones) are the key to getting your book noticed. The truth is that getting reviews is largely a numbers game. Only a very small percentage of people that read a book will go back and write a review. It might take one thousand readers to generate your first ten reviews. Giving away your book will produce reviews that might take years (if ever) to accumulate.

Amazon Recommendations

Perhaps the biggest benefit of giving away your books is that it will trigger Amazon recommendations. When you click on a book and scroll down the page a little, you will see 'What do other customers buy after viewing this item?' Your book will start to show up in these lists. This is huge, and a few hundred free books could lead to thousands of people tripping across your book in this fashion.

What Are The Requirements For A Free Book Promotion?

There are two 'strings,' and some authors can't go along with these. First, your five days of quarterly free promotion are granted for every title you enroll in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program. KDP Select requires that you sell your eBook exclusively on the Amazon platform. In our own case, we are totally OK with this arrangement. Amazon is the gorilla of book selling and we don't think we are losing out on much by agreeing to this. The exclusivity does not include print versions of your books. So, in the case of How To Pray For A Financial Miracle, Amazon has the exclusive on the eBook, but we are free to sell the paperback version in any venue that we choose.

The other requirement is that your book will also be included in the Amazon lending library. This means that people can check your book out and read it for free (again, another great way to get fans). It is free for the reader, but you do get paid from Amazon's Global Fund. Authors are paid a pro rata share of the monthly fund based on how many times their book is borrowed. I have read different figures, but the earnings on a 'borrow' are about 20% to 30% of the amount of a sale. We do get a lot of borrows of our books and we have no problem with the compensation model.

Ready To Publish Your First eBook?

Bob Yetman and have been writing books since the early 1990's. Although we have both been published with numerous traditional publishers, we are focusing our career these days on self publishing. We spend most of our day writing, but we also love helping others get started in the world of self publishing. More on our coaching program here.

Helping you make the most of God's money!

James L. Paris 
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