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November 14, 2012


Release Week and Why Free is Good

by Michael Langlois

So, a few of my fabulously stalkerish perceptive readers have pointed out that I tend to give away a lot of free books, especially around the time I release a new one.  This is a true statement.  They have also asked if that’s such a good idea for me from an income perspective.  I think the better question is if it’s a good idea for me from a career perspective.

Turns out, a new author’s greatest challenge has less to do with money and a great deal more to do with obscurity.  I’ve been very fortunate with my sales since the release of Bad Radio back in October of 2011, but even so, the number of copies of my books out in the wild, both free and purchased, is less than 100K.  I’m a microscopic drop in a bucket the size of Lake Superior.

From a career standpoint, gaining a reader is more important than making a sale.  Every time, no exceptions.  As has been mentioned elsewhere, most people are introduced to a new author for free.  Either through libraries or being lent a copy by a friend.  Today, it can also include ebook piracy, but for my purposes that’s just as good as any other method for getting in front of readers.

Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some book sales.  But people who like your work are happy to purchase books when they can, provided the price is reasonable and the quality is there.  I spent most of my youth reading out of friend’s collections and libraries.  The result was a love of books and an adult lifetime of purchasing them.  Even as books trend towards electronic versions that might be hard to get from libraries or lend to friends, everyone should still have that opportunity.

To that end, I will continue to offer all of my previous books for free during the launch week of each new book, as well as periodic surprise freebies every couple of months.  It’s not charity on my part, just good business sense.  And if it helps keep someone out there in free books, then all to the good.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 14 2012

    I can affirm that some of the best books I have ever read have been free. I also agree that a reader will pay for sequels if the writing is intriguing. I am an example of that, as I am eagerly awaiting the release of Emergent Earth!! I also have a friend who is becoming a first time author, having just uploaded her premier book to Amazon just today. I believe she would agree with you that building readers is just as important as the money. Besides, one writes to entertain and share first, and if money follows it makes it all the better. As a matter of fact, I told my new author friend about your books being free this week and MADE her download them. 🙂 Thank for your words and your stories. I’m definitely a devoted reader.

    • Michael Langlois
      Nov 14 2012

      Wow, thanks for that! Tell your friend I wish her the best of luck. It seems crazy scary the first time, but after that it’s…um…you know what? Tell her best of luck 😛

      • Nov 15 2012

        Crazy scary would definitely describe her emotions during the uploading to Amazon portion of the day. 🙂 She was a basket case! But an excited basket case. One more day!! Woo-hoo!

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