1. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    Advice / Opinons - Should I give away my third book / chapters for free?

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by MikeyC, Oct 17, 2018.

    I'm a bit of techno / science nerd - fascinated by anything medical / physical / chemical. My previous two books have been fantasy but now I am writing a sci-fi book - which I am immensly excited about. (Took me forever to come up with a decent story line). So here is my plan, and just wanted opinions on whether you think it is a good idea?

    A friend of mine is creating my website - bless him ( i owe him a lot of beers for this). And I am planning on having a Q&A section on my third book. Where I can post difficult, mostly far reaching science questions to help me complete certain sections.

    As a thank you, I am thinking of posting the chapters for free and ultimately when the book is finished, giveaway the whole book, as a thank you for all the help I have received.

    Not sure how i would direct people to it, or just let it run in the background and if people find their way there, then great?



    Is this just a silly idea? And should I just get on with the book, and try and work out the science myself - and if I can't, just gloss over it?



    I don't want to be pretentious.



    Thank you for reading and good luck all with your writing!



    Rgds

    Mike
     
  2. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    Why not put the book for 99p on Amazon instead? I can't grasp your idea of .... giving away the book as a free copy just because you got help with the science, is that it? I see no point putting a book on a website unless you already get enough friends on social media etc to create the traffic for the website. While on Amazon at least people might be interested in getting a cheap read and seeing that you have other books out there, the cheapie might work well to create some interest for them, too.
     
  3. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    I found your ideas quite interesting.
    1) About asking questions instead of researching yourself.
    It's quite original doing so on a website. There's no shame at all of asking about specific science, specially for a Hard Sci-Fi book (e.g. Peter Watts is a sea biologist and asked a lot of things about geology in forums for his first book: Starfish. He's an Hugo award winner.). And sure it would be fun to participate. I'd give it a try for the experience, anyway.

    2) About giveaway your book. Of course, I'd always encourage a free (or symbolic) giveaway for all readers. Maybe publish it under a Creative Commons Licence could be good to readers get to know your work, but I have no expertice at all in publishing and stuff like that.
     
  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would say giving away a couple chapters as a teaser might work. I also read a book that the author had serialized, he sold the first few chapters for 99 cents, but further installments for a higher (yet still reasonable) price. The strategy worked in my case, while I would have hesitated to spend $7 or so on an unknown author, the 99 cents was a decent risk, and I found the story engaging enough to continue to buy. Another author I read initially sold his book for around $3 or so, then once he'd gotten a bunch of positive reviews* for it and some buzz moved the price point up a ways.

    These "hook" strategies do have their downsides though. An author I met through another writing forum wrote a series of books and gave away Book 1 for free. I downloaded it, read it, and was thoroughly unimpressed by his writing (and general self-importance), so I left an honest but negative review under the name of my secret identity (hint: I don't work in the White House. Or do I?)

    Personally, when I finish my book, I'm going to do everything in my power to get paid, first by shopping it around to agents and publishers (if I can work up the courage), if that fails through Kindle (or similar) self-pub, and in the last resort, by printing it out as many times as I need to to earn a dollar in recycling, and framing said dollar as "the first money from the sale of my novel."
     
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  5. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with Ash (@Iain Aschendale ) and @DeeDee on this. I'd never give away an entire book for free. Teaser, possibly. Book? Nope. Professional writers get paid. By giving a book away for free, you immediately lower its perceived value to "nothing", therefore lowering your perceived value as an author. Readers may like it, but do you want all your hard work to be thought of in the same way as bad fanfic written by thirteen-year-olds?

    You will see tons of webinars that advise you to give away lots of things away for free. If that strategy sold as many self-published books as the people giving the webinars claim it does, they wouldn't have to sell the "course" or "training program" or "bootcamp" they pitch at the end of the webinar telling you how to "make money as an author."

    Bottom line: teasers, possibly. Product no.
     
  6. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    The only reason I can see someone wanting to give their book away for free is if they don't want to make any money on it.
    However, money - in my opinion - makes the book look legit. If a book is free, doesn't that mean the author thinks it's not good enough to make money? Wouldn't the reader, from inferring that, decide the book isn't good enough to be read?
    Going back to my first sentence (and I don't know if it's just that you don't want the money from the book) you could always donate it to your favorite charity, or a charity that deals with an issue in your book. Then you could even go so far to say, "I'm donating all proceeds to so-and-so charity."
     
  7. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    I thought it would be fun too. The other thing I would have to decide is whether to have a blog style on the webpage, or get some kind of forum setup. If it will be a forum I will probably have to try and work it out myself, as my friend has categorically told me, 'I'll setup a blog page, not a forum'.

    Rgds

    Mike
     
  8. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    I agree with your friend. I think a blog page is better. At first, a forum would be a little overkill for just commenting answers or references to that answers, wouldn't it?.
    If you're going on the idea, I would be interested to see how it works, feedbacks and all.
     
  9. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    Of course. I have drafted the first 3 chapters - and have my first few questions ready. So just waiting on my friend I guess. I have no idea how long it will take him. The website needs creating from scratch.

    Rgds
    Mike
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    giving a single (usually first ) book in exchange for mailing list sign ups is a fairly well established practice, as is putting one perma free book out to promote your work - it does work, but most people use prequel novellas written specifically for purpose ... however doing it as part of a strategy is a different thing to randomly giving away work because you don't have a marketing plan ... I can't see any reason to give away the third book in a series

    I'm also not clear on why said friend is creating the site from scratch - why not just use wordpress, or one of the chapter at a time platforms like wattpad
     
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  11. Artifacs

    Artifacs Senior Member

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    Cool!
    Would you please make us know when it's ready?
    I'd really like to see how it works. Thanks.
     
  12. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    From a PR standpoint, though, as part of that strategy, the level of presentation has to be up there, though, for people to make the association in their minds that the writing, and therefore its author, is "as good" as a traditionally published book. You have to do everything you can to counteract that "lesser-quality" association in the public's minds...and I see a hell of a lot of authors that don't take the time to do that.

    I know you do that, Moose, but a hell of a lot of self-published authors don't.
     
  13. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    Do you want feedback from your fanbase (provided the book manage to create one) or just a place to put your explanations and elaborations of plot details? Forums are great for creating fanbase, people love interaction and creating their own theories and stuff, but forums need constant maintenance and can be vulnerable. On the other hand, you'd need to put out a really exceptional book in order to make people want to read a blog on it as well. If there's stuff that's not fully explained in the book the readers are more likely to walk off unsatisfied and annoyed rather than wanting to read up an additional explanation.
     
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  14. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Supporter Contributor

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    Also, a forum with crickets (few members, or a forum that goes quiet) will hurt more than help, because people can see the number of members and post interactions, and there's a herd mentality to forums. So the timing of when you build one (I wouldn't start at 0 readers) and your commitment level to keep it going are really important if you go that route.
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There are a lot that do - but I agree that there are also a lot that don't
     
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  16. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    This will be a stand alone book, I haven't written a series.

    He offered to make a website, and I am going by his guidance. I haven' the time to learn PHP and HTML to do it myself.

    Rgds
    Mike
     
  17. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    My idea is to publish each full chapter on the website, and have follow up difficult science questions for the next chapter - the stuff i need help with.

    I was thinking putting a chapter up a week, to give me time to sort the science out.

    Rgds
    Mike
     
  18. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    This is pretty much what my friend said about forums. He said, 'Keep it simple, blog style, with science questions people can respond directly to.'
    Rgds
    Mike
     
  19. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    To be honest I don't know how it's going to lay out. He has asked a LOT of questions, about style, websites I like / don't like. Banners, tabs, layout, artwork, previous books etc.

    He has been very involved.

    Rgds

    Mike
     
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Using wordpress doesn't require any knowledge of php or html ... also using a chapter by chapter service like wattpad doesn't require any specialist knowledge
     
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  21. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Thy rod and thy Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Seconded. I've taken things I created in a word processor and copy/pasted them into a wordpress-powered blog. All you need to do is preview to make sure that all the formatting (especially paragraph breaks) formatted correctly and you're set.
     
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  22. MikeyC

    MikeyC Active Member

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    Fair enough. I will mention this to my friend who is setting up the website!

    Rgds
    Mike
     
  23. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    One thing you can do is use the KDP giveaway, by selecting Kindle Select which requires your ebook to be exclusive to KDP for 90 days. You select KDP giveaway, select the period, up to five days every ninety days, and press the go button. My first giveaway resulted in an incredible 1200 downloads on a brand new book. KDP giveaways include some sort of publication by Amazon because at that time, I had no publicity outside my circle of friends. Subsequent giveaways resulted in 300-1000 downloads, and a marked uptick in sales (due to word of mouth?) for a month to six weeks after. Haven't done on lately, because regular sales after 2+ years have ticked up to the point I don't want to lose momentum, but I am considering it again.

    Bottom line, it costs nothing except money you're not making anyway, so think about it.
     
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  24. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Active Member

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    Do you already have a fanbase and/or readership? You can build the jazziest, coolest, funkiest website in the world but if no-one knows it exists there will only be tumbleweeds in the comments section of your blog - for a while at least so be prepared for that.

    I don't really have an opinion on giving the whole book away but a sound marketing strategy would offer only the first '100' or so to comment/answer a free copy. Always have a call to action or incentive to act now. Leaving it open ended will likely end in gathering dust.
    Best of luck whatever you do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  25. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Yep, the only thing harder to publicize than a book is a website! Facebook pages are easier to set up and establish reach. Had one good suggestion from another writer. Their website allows viewers to purchase a signed copy of the book. Requires an interface to paypal, so they can pay for it through your site, then send you a message with name and address. You send them signed copy at author's purchase price.
     
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