Friday, 12 December 2014

Addicted to giving away free books? #TETrilogy

A year ago, I ran a free promotion via smashwords which led to Hybrid being price-matched on amazon. Since sales had not been easy to come by I decided to permanently leave Hybrid free since I had just finished writing the trilogy and had heard that this was a great way to increase your readership.

Last December, I also launched the trilogy in Gibraltar and got a lot of coverage via the local newspaper, TV, radio, and the Gibraltar Magazine. This led to a surge of downloads of Hybrid in January & February, followed by sales of the subsequent books. It was a fantastic feeling to be further up in the charts.

As the months went on, sales dropped again and downloads of Hybrid also tailored off. During the summer, I had a lucky break with a reader, My Book Fairy in the US, who loved the trilogy so much she promoted it and recommended it to her book club. Again, this was fantastic whilst it lasted.

I also decided to leave FIRST DATE permafree since sales were so insignificant. I then found that Hybrid was not being downloaded as much and so I came to the conclusion that I was better off pricing it again, which I have now done. This was even after I designed new covers (maybe one day these will need a complete rehash).

But, there is a dilemma. I do sell books via iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords. I think these sales come about via the fact Hybrid was free. I also believe sales on Amazon have also resulted from the fact readers enjoyed Hybrid. The problem is that there are so many free books out there that I wanted a break from the pressure of looking all the time. As much as I try not to care and not to look I can't help it.

This is the reason for taking it off. I am trying to ignore the sales and focus on my writing.

If I had tons of sales then the free option would be worth it. Sadly, this is not the case. I hear on a daily basis from authors that sell thousands of books! I think they're lying... I know indie authors that have sold hundreds, but not thousands! If they are truly selling this amount, I say WELL DONE! (Truly, I don't know how you did it, but I respect you for getting there)

Bottom line is my books are obviously not what readers want to read at the moment. So, I am extremely grateful to all who have enjoyed my books and given them a chance. It's time to write something new and hope for the best!

So, I'll start early with my New Year's resolutions!

1) Stop looking up Amazon & Smashwords on a daily basis
2) Write something every day!
3) Don't engage in conversations online I feel strongly about...
4) Keep in touch with readers & writers I enjoy talking to (it's so easy to stop doing this).
5) Read every day.
6) Think about something in my life I am happy about every day.
7) Exercise every day.
8) Drink water!
9) Avoid sugar!
10) Get lots of "warm hugs" from my kids... otherwise statues will do!

It would be great to hear from some of you. What was your biggest challenge this year?

All the best,

p.s. Look out for my post on Christmas day... a special treat for all my lovely readers is on it's way! :)


  1. Thank you so very much for this post!!! I'm in exactly the same boat--well, almost. I have never used Hybrid--I don't even know what that is. But my book sales are...are...not good. The sad thing is that I have VERY good reviews for my books--especially the First Force Series book. I do everything that other authors do: tweet (many times per day & RT) virtual book tours--doesn't help. FB--I keep up and post often--not always about my books, just post, and I google+, still nothing. I agree, it so very discouraging when other authors are bragging about their sales--and some have been peddling the same book for several years--no new books--its the SAME ONE! And yes, like you, I am a glutton for punishment: I check my amazon sales and reviews everyday only to be disappointed. What can an author do??? Stay focused. Keep writing. Keep trying, otherwise I will have to give in and give up. I can't do that. I love writing. I love my books. I just wish readers would read them, because those who do, seem to love them.

    One more note: quite frankly, I'm tired of giving my books away. I work long and hard to produce them, and even when I do an amazon giveaway, the readers don't post reviews. I feel defeated, but I won't give up!

  2. Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for commenting... I am not alone!

    I have to say that even though giving away books for free with limited feedback is no fun, it's better than no sales at all. Last Sunday, I sold 8 books in one day... then it dried up again. I have a feeling I will not last & will end up pricing Hybrid again. Better to be read than not at all. Maybe?

    Have a fantastic Christmas,

    PS: Hybrid is my debut novel, as on this page :)

  3. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry, I should pay closer attention. Congrats on your new novel HYBRID! May your sales soar! And no, Vanessa, you are not alone--I truly don't believe that either of us are--at this time I have seven novels (I write two series: Unbridled & First Force).

  4. Hi Vanessa,
    I think it is a difficult decision whether to have any book free, after all, it's all of your hard work and you deserve some payment from it! If it has worked for you in relation to getting more sales for the other books in the trilogy, then at least it is more worthwhile. As for your New Years resolutions - they look pretty good to me! I think you should definitely concentrate on new writing and let The Evolution Trilogy continue to speak for itself - you have a lot of faithful followers/readers, you will continue to gain sales, however small, and those readers will want to read new books from you.
    Happy Christmas!

    Samantha :) x

  5. I agree, Sam! After much thought, I decided to have Hybrid free again! It's Christmas after all. So what if it doesn't get downloaded as much as others... if I get one new reader then it's all worth it.

    Merry Christmas to all :)