Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The risks and benefits of free

About a month ago, I compiled some of my best flash fiction pieces that were sitting around not doing anything, and released them as the free collection Sunset on Mars and Other Stories, a Smashwords exclusive. So far it's had 115 downloads, but here's the kicker ... that didn't correlate to any increase in sales for my related novel, Flyday.

Sure, it's sold copies since then, but every time someone buys it, they've told me (or my marketing expert) why they did: they heard one of us talk about it and thought it sounded interesting. They didn't read Sunset first. Some possible reasons? a) The free collection is really short (at 1500 words, the size of a small short story even); b) Smashwords just isn't as popular as something like Amazon, where it would have more visibility; and c) I didn't promote it as much as I promoted Flyday.

It's definitely being read. But if it isn't drawing readers toward my book as well, I need to change my strategy. Maybe I'll post the stories directly onto my blog, to draw in readers who prefer to read something short on a screen. Or work on more short stories, add to it and put it on both Smashwords and Amazon for $.99. But I think it was good practice to format another ebook, and was a good refresher for when I'll release my next novel later this year.


  1. It sounds like a good idea to post them on your blog. If you're on twitter, you use them to participate in #flashfriday (or #fridayflash). If you comment on other people's flash, you should get comments back. Mention the free smashwords collection and the book each time you post.