Publishing For Kindle: Why Make Your Ebook Free?

On my other blog, I wrote about publishing my first ebook for Amazon Kindle, but decided to write the follow up post here.

A few days ago, I uploaded my very first ebook into the Amazon marketplace, and enrolled it into the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. While I’ve written ebooks and special reports before, this was the first time I did so using the power of the Amazon marketplace.

I must say, this has been a fun and exciting week! I went into this experience with low expectations and high hopes. When I initially listed the ebook, I had to overcome a lot of internal dialogue and fear, but I ignored it and kept moving. I’m so glad I did, because the ebook quickly sold 40+ copies, and then when I offered it for free, 4,000 copies were downloaded in one day.

Why I Decided To Make My Ebook Free (For a Limited Time!)

People I had a lot of respect for advised me to offer the ebook free for a short time. (The KDP program allows you to choose up to 5 “promotion” periods in which you may offer the ebook free. You can schedule these as you like.) However, I strongly disliked this suggestion at first. I’ve spent years telling women they shouldn’t give away the milk for free. I worked hard on the ebook, and felt that the $2.99 ebook was already a huge value.

But. This was my first time doing this, so I decided to humble myself as a beginner and trust people who were a step ahead of me. I scheduled the ebook to be free for 24 hours.

And here’s why I don’t regret it.

  • People who don’t know you will talk about your free Kindle ebook. There are a lot of sites that regularly search Amazon for free for Kindle titles and post them. Some of these wrote about my ebook when I had no relationship with the webmaster whatsoever. Every few hours when I did a Google search for my ebook’s title, I found more places that mentioned it. And here’s the really sexy part: after your ebook is no longer free, those links will still work, sending traffic to your ebook and driving more sales.
  • More customer reviews. There’s no way I would have been able to sell 4,000 copies of my ebook in a day. (At least, not from where I’m at in my business now. Maybe someday!) But because 4,000 people downloaded my ebook, the chances of my getting a spike of customer reviews were good. And that’s what happened. I immediately got 5 5-star reviews, which in turn will help me sell more ebooks. (An Amazon book with no reviews looks pitiful, like Baby in the corner.)
  • More eyeballs. The more people who see your free ebook, the more eyeballs you have on your site, your newsletter (which saw a six-fold increase in signups that day), your platform, your message… YOU. Some of those people will stick around and become part of your tribe.
  • Improve your Amazon ranking. Amazon has an inner algorithm that is triggered when people search for your book. The more times your book “sells” (even when the price is $0.00), the better you will rank and the more Amazon will help market your book for you when people search for related topics.

I was absolutely shocked and thrilled when I went to Amazon, searched the Kindle ebooks, and found that my humble little ebook had made it to the #1 spot in Cookbooks! You can leverage this honor to sell more ebooks. You are now a “Bestselling Author”!

  • Free content creates goodwill and establishes you as an expert. When you give someone valuable information at no cost, you establish immediate rapport with them. Because the product didn’t hurt them in the wallet, they have lower expectations, which are easier to exceed.

Given the power of Amazon, I’m not sure if I will ever sell an ebook on my own domain. There are certainly some benefits to doing so, but at this point I’m pretty sold on this method. One other benefit for me as the author? Amazon manages payment processing and customer support, making my job (writing- which I love to do) easy. And since they handle the affiliates, I don’t have to worry about messing with my own affiliate program either.

Have you published an ebook for Kindle? What was your experience?



About Carrie

Happy wife, homeschooling mom of many, autodidact, best-selling Amazon author, blogger, head chef and barefoot walker. Residing just outside Atlanta, usually found reading a book while sipping a hot beverage.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. Do you know if you can still do giveaways when you publish exclusively on Amazon?

  2. I searched the Amazon author’s forums, and found that yes it’s fine to share your ebook for free and to do giveaways.

  3. I’m finishing up my first novel right now, and while I’ve heard of KDP, I’ve never really considered the benefits of using it. Thanks for your honest input, I am definitely going to work a few free promotion days into my marketing plan.