Friday, April 4, 2014

Giving it Away For Free

In anticipation of launching my third novel, I have been thinking a lot about marketing. I find myself very attuned to businesses lately, and how they conduct advertising. For example, yesterday when buying lollipops for my nephews, I realized that Sees Candy 'gives it away for free' to every single customer who enters their store. (The double-fudge number that they practically insisted I ingest went down oh so smooth)  I noticed this at my yoga studio, too, where they *practically* 'give it away for free' to new students, offering uber cheap prices for a month, helping the student determine if he wants to join. Farmers markets all over the world (at least in the parts of the world I've been) offer free samples of their produce, and even my car wash place gives you a freebie (when you purchase 9).

Last month I gave away the ebook version of my novel "Imperfect" for free - a service Amazon offers to authors. I was shocked and delighted that it was downloaded over 5,000 times - in one day! My first novel sold that amount in over two years. The day after the free promotion, my book sold over 50 times, and I garnered a handful of new reviews on various sites.

It's hard for me to reconcile 'giving it away for free'. I can't help but do the "what if..." math. What if those 5,000 people each paid a dollar per book? But the thing I'm learning, the thing I'm seeing everywhere, is that it is simply part of the gig, part of building a brand, part of making the connections that you know you were put on this earth to make.