looking for the formula

In terms of the becoming a succesful self-published author, there is not yet any certain sure and flawless advice to follow.  Sure, there are a few methods that will help earn you a few sales, but no one has come up with a tried and true formula for selling triple or quadruple digits every month.  As a matter of fact, one of JA Konrath’s opinions is that in many cases, self publishing success is often the result of simple blind luck.

But one of the things I have noticed is that with four different succesful-to-moderately-succesful indie/self published authors that I keep tabs on from time to time is that there is One method that seems to give a boost.  And as much as I am against it, it includes making your work free for a limited time.  The idea behind this, of course, is that people are far more likely to check out your work if it is free; if they enjoy the free book, they will hopefully spend the money on other releases.  Not only that, but any reviews garnered from your free books could help sway potential paying customers in the future.

So, tired of seeing lackluster sales numbers, I gave it a try this weekend.  On Friday, I made two of my books available for free for a very limited time  Tricks of Shadow and Light and The Only Moth Among the Dark have seen enormous surges in “sales” numbers in that small time.  While I obviously get no earnings from these downloads, the potential for new readers and reviews is great.  And, as I said, I’ve seen this approach pay off in the past for other authors.

So, go get them while the getting is good. In the coming weeks, I’ll share an update as to whether or not this experiment pays off.



  1. I think it’s a great way to get your name out there. I’ve seen several authors employ this with the first book of a series, especially. It gets people (hopefully) learning about your work and hungry for more.

  2. Increase in readers is always a good thing. Increase in reviews? Not always good when it comes from free books. I’ve learned this from giveaways at librarything. People who don’t like your type of book will read it when it’s free even if they wouldn’t have paid for it. And the only thing you could have done to please some of them would be to have written a different book than was clearly advertised.

  3. I put one of my short stories out there for free and so far over 35,000 copies have been downloaded. I have seen sales of my other short story increase marginally, but not enough to make me rich. Trial and error. I have received many reviews, which I suppose helps.

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