After a slow start to the day it ended on a high note. Seeking the Dark rose to number 1 on both the UK & USA charts my publisher had placed my book in. Yes, I did get excited because it was a bit of fun, and I did enjoy watching my book climb the charts, but unfortunately this will all be short lived.
Do I see a free-to-download weekend as a positive exercise for authors? I’m not sure. In reality I think its more beneficial to the readers of eBooks than to us writers. As long as you’re not expecting any miracles from the event, and haven’t invested too heavily financially in hope of seeing a great return for your money, I’m sure you’ll be okay. I look upon the weekend as a brief moment of fun. The weekend is more like a giant billboard on the side of a freeway. You see it briefly as you drive towards a more rewarding destination. It isn’t somewhere you stop off in hope of seeing something amazing. It’s there, and gone in a flash. Any positive results will appear long after the event. You may gain one or two new readers, and if you have other books available, you may see some sales on them.
For me, the only real winners from a free-download weekend are the readers. Going by what happened after my first free-download weekend, with Stone Angels, I saw no real return on giving away over 4k copies of the book. On Goodreads, many of the readers who have it in their to read-next list won’t be reading it in the near future going by the numbers of other books they already have on their list to read.
So why take a gamble giving away another large number of books for free? I see the free-download weekends as more of a publicity stunt rather than something which will generate large number of sales. It’s about sparking the reader’s interest in your books by tying your promotion to an event. It gives you a reason to do a bit of hard selling without the readers’ feeling under any pressure to buy your books. If you generate enough downloads it gives you something to talk about as your book climbs some obscure category to sit at number one on the Amazon Free Kindle chart around the world. Of course, you can share screenshots of your book at number 1 across the internet too. This will help you to promote your work too.
The real benefits to a free-download weekend comes when you have a back catalogue of work to sell. If a reader new to your writing style download a free book, and enjoys it they are more willing to buy other books by you. It will be very interesting to find out from my publishers how many downloads Seeking the Dark generated this weekend. Of course, any pages turned, or new reviews I receive in the future will make me very happy, so all I can do for now is just keep on writing.
If you are still interested in picking up a copy for free click on this link Seeking The Dark (Tomorrow British time the book will no longer be free.)