For those of you who have hung around here a while, you probably know that I have made the first book of each of my two book series free, at least with every outlet I can do so. Now, the obvious intent of this was to stick my foot in the door, to provide a free sample to entice readers and lure them in to read the rest of each series. It certainly does seem to have spread interest a fair bit and I’m seeing a slow trickle from the free books to the pay books.
Also, you probably know I am very close to wrapping these initial trilogies (a term I am loathe to use because I fully intend to revisit both of these fictional worlds down the road). What I wonder is if I should continue to keep those first books free? At least after perhaps a month or so of the series completion.
Putting a window on the free books might create a rush of activity, a sense of urgency to get a toe in the door, pushed on by the knowledge that, YES, this series IS complete. At the same time, would the good will generated by that openly free book be crushed by suddenly cutting off the tap? I admit that I don’t have the marketing skills to really gauge the risk factor here.
So, any of you writers, editors, publishers, literary folk, do you have any insights on this? Is it better to keep that gateway open for impulse readers to grab a free book and get hooked? Or decide that it’s time to cut off the free lunch line?
No writer can work in an echo chamber or in a ‘yes’ factory. So, to that end, I have always tried to work with a core of beta readers and editors: people who like the project but are more than willing to tell me ‘that, that is stupid’ or ‘what the heck’ or many more colorful exclamations when I make a major misstep. I am eternally indebted to each and every one of them.
However, several of my top beta readers are out of action for the near future. Major personal obligations or familial emergencies have taken up their time and, despite any objections from them, I have given them my full support to ignore the reading and just take care of business. Their problems and futures are far more important than a few books.
So, long story still kind of long, I have a need for beta readers. I need people who aren’t afraid to be critical to help turn my last two books (for the short term) into masterpieces and, heck, I’m not afraid to publish new editions of old works if the input is sound enough. I need people who want to stick their arms elbow-deep into the creative process and turn good material into the best of end results.
Oh, you get free books! All three books of whichever series you wish to beta read … or both, if you want to read both. Also, obviously, you’ll get the last two books before their release and get every update along the way.