Monday, March 10, 2008

Free Reads

Dear Author recently talked about the various publishers who are giving away free ebooks and wondered if the romance genre shouldn't jump on that wagon too.

The idea of free books as promotion interests me greatly. It's something I've thought about doing - although not for promotion so much as for giving my seemingly unpublishable books a new life. While I wouldn't giveaway something I thought was absolulte dreck, I might give away a book that I love but is in a sub-genre I'm probably not going to write anymore. I'd also give it away with the disclaimer that it hadn't been through professional edits.

At Romance Divas, we've been doing an annual free ereads program for two years. We usually do it around Valentine's Day. The stories offer are the author's choice. Anything goes, any heat level, any genre, any idea. They're free and with that comes a sort of freeness in the writing. More than once those free reads have resulted in a publishing contract as a result of an editor reading the story and wanting to put out an expanded version. It's an interesting event.

Anyway, what do you think about free reads as promotion? Would it interest you to read an old story of mine? (I'd like to add, it was a GH finalist.) Would you ever consider offering a free book of your own?

Bonus: Noah Lukeman (author of The First Five Pages, The Plot Thickens and A Dash of Style) has decided to make his e-book HOW TO WRITE A GREAT QUERY LETTER free, as a way to give back to the writing community. Get it here: http://www.lukeman. com/greatquery/download.htm


  1. I'm torn about it, honestly. I buy e-books that are written by friends, but it takes a lot for me to read them. I already sit at the computer 10 hours a day. It's hard for me to continue sitting at the computer to read. Free "real" books. Yes, I'm all for it. But I can honestly say, I've never just downloaded a free read to try an author out. I go to the web, read an excerpt and go from there. Maybe I'm a good candidate for an Amazon Kindle...hmmmm

  2. I think if I know and like the author then I'd be interested in the free read. But as a short story. Like Mel it's hard to sit and read a book at the computer for the pleasure of it.
    I would love to read your stuff though!

  3. I love Costco's free snacks. And when I'm at the mall, I always take a free sample of the chicken. I love it when I snag a new product free at the grocery store. Free is great. It's a fantastic way to get your name and voice out there. Aren't Kindles still on back order? WE as a generation may not be mostly paperless, but I can see my kid's generation doing it.

    PERSONALLY, I don't like reading off a device, or the PC, but I consider myself old school.

  4. This is a very interesting idea. I think there are lots of people interested in reading ebooks, but it's got to vary a huge amount depending on the book, the story, the quality of writing, etc. But it's possible it could have a similar effect that some undiscovered bands and musicians felt they got from Napster and other online music distribution sources. As you said, a way to increase exposure and get noticed by someone in a position to do something about it.

  5. I'm guilty I didn't do a free read this year, but I will when I complete all my deadlines. Better late than never. LOL

    I want to give readers a taste of my writing and it's a great promotional tool so they can see a sample and decide if they want to read my current or backlist. It's a win win for both author and reader.

    Most of the free reads are fantastic and it's a good feeling knowing they have participated and gave their time to produce something special for their readers.

  6. PS. My book will be on the shelves on March 17th!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to brag.... I'm thrilled and feel like a legitimate author now. Oh, I am!

    :) Maybe I should cut down on the caffeine.