If we’re not already pizza.
When I first got into advertising I worked on a pizza account. You’ve heard of them. Actually, I named the P’zone. It was a joke. They didn’t get it and they ran with it. Sorry, America. Aside from the rare opportunity to work potty humor into a calzone, we did a lot of coupon work. Why? Because people don’t buy pizza without a coupon.
The pizza companies had trained the populace that there would always be a coupon in the mail. They got hooked and would only order pizza if they had a coupon in hand.
Ebooks are falling into the same trap. The Kindle Select program offered us a great opportunity to distribute our work. At first free downloads counted as sales and boosted our rankings. Then the math changed at each download equated to about a tenth of a sale. Then it changed again and they seem to be worth nothing now.
Authors everywhere took advantage of the program (for good reason) and the reading public has come to expect their books for free. They happily accept it and put it in their to-read “pile.” Have you looked around Goodreads? Some people’s to-read lists are thousands of books long. Are they really going to get to them all?
If there is a mile long list of free books everyday, why would you ever buy a book? I don’t blame them at all.
The free book on Amazon still has it’s use. If you’ve got a series, it only makes sense to give the first book away for free from time to time. But, the constant barrage isn’t helping authors.
I’ll be using the program quite sparingly. As for now, I’m planning no further promotions on Amazon.
There is still value in giving away books however. I’m just going to do it differently. I’ve started the Holy Crap, Free Books Program.
When people sign up for my newsletter, they become a part of the program.
Now when I give away a book I’ll know that it’s to interested parties that will read it instead of simply storing it in the cloud. I don’t know if it will work any better but I think it’s better than just handing out pizza coupons.