7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2010 12:48 AM by Globaltech

    Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)

    DiAnneInDover

      Thanks to Doug's listing, I saw that this book was free...

       

      When checking it out, however, I see that it is part of the O'Malley series, though it doesn't indicate which number it is.

      #1 is "The Negotiator at $9.59.

      #2 is "The Guardian at $9.59.

      Etc through #7 not including the freebie.

       

      Had it been the first in the series, I would have downloaded it, read it, got hooked (presumably, as that seems to be pretty much status quo for me) and bought the rest of the books.

       

      But by not making the first one free, I've bypassed it and probably will never introduce myself to any of the books. 

       

      I love freebies.  And freebies DO lead readers to buy the rest of them.  But offering a later book for free just doesn't make sense to me.

        • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)
          Doug_Pardee

          I guess it depends on the series. For some series, the first book or two might be weak, or the series might have gone off in a different direction later.

           

          I don't know anything about this particular series, but one of the reviewers here on B&N says that this one is a prequel to the series (and Amazon says so in the title), so it chronologically would fit before book #1. You might want to take a quick scan over the reviews here and on Amazon, regarding what readers think about how this book fits into the series. One reviewer at Amazon wrote, "I must admit, sadly, that I did not read this book first in the series!" Another writes, "I think that this is a great book beginning a fantastic series."

           

          • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)
            swan480

            I think making the first book in a series free is a great idea, and I wish more publishers would catch on to the idea.  I got hooked on Karen Moning's Fever series because over the summer the first book, Darkfever, was free.  It took me until a couple of weeks ago to read it, but I bought the other three within a few days, and now I am anxiously awaiting the fifth one (which comes out in January).  Plus I bought one of her other books.  So there's $30+ that the publisher never would have gotten from me had they not offered the first book for free.

             

            The first book isn't free anymore, by the way, but still worth checking out if you like vampire fiction and dark fantasy/suspense:

             

             

            Darkfever (Fever Series #1)

              

             

            • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)

              I'd have to agree on the first of a series being free if:

               

              1) The Author is already an established name

              2) The Publisher representing the Author are not greedy bastards and forego the Agency Model.

               

              Granted that I'm attempting to independently publish an epic fantasy series via PubIt, I have the thought of decreasing prices as the series is produced.

               

              Given there being a lot of flak about typos and poor formatting (I've found someplace to DL a free Adobe ePub editor for the rest of my books to avoid that), Independents need to make something from their works if they've actually put in the work to make a clean bit of copy.  Doing so, and hooking in their reader base, I think I would reduce the first book by half when the second came out, half that again with the third, and finally drop it to lowest price OR free should I be satisfied the rest of the eSeries does well.

              (example: $9.99, $5, $2.99, $.99/Free thereafter)

               

              Not trying to be greedy; trying to be fair for all.  Response?

               

              -MJ Holmes-

              §

                • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)
                  DiAnneInDover

                   


                  PhreaQ wrote:

                  I Doing so, and hooking in their reader base, I think I would reduce the first book by half when the second came out, half that again with the third, and finally drop it to lowest price OR free should I be satisfied the rest of the eSeries does well.

                  (example: $9.99, $5, $2.99, $.99/Free thereafter)

                   

                  Not trying to be greedy; trying to be fair for all.  Response?

                   

                  -MJ Holmes-

                  §


                   

                  That's quite opposite of what I would do were I hoping to be a successful paid author.  With all of the "popular" books available, I don't waste my money on unknowns.  There is a reason the popular authors are popular...word of mouth has sold their books.  I'm willing to pay $10 for an ebook from authors who have established a track record of amazing stories.

                   

                  When it comes to a new author, and specifically a self-published (or PubIt) author, there's no track record.  The writing could be garbage.  It could be amazing.  But if it costs the same as a Stephen King or Sue Grafton book, I'm never going to buy it.  I'm going to spend my money on known good authors.

                   

                  However, when the first book is free or costs a dollar, I'll try it.  If it is really good, I'll pay more for subsequent books.  But I'll never buy any of them if they cost the same price as ebooks with established authors.

                   

                  I'd say for the PubIt books that are priced as $1 or $2, hundreds are being sold.  For the ones that are $7 to $10, very few are being sold.  Charging too much for the first book means that the book generally won't sell at all.  Charging a nominal fee to get a fan base means that more people will purchase it and (if it is worthy) purchase the future books. 

                   

                  So, greedy or fair doesn't matter.  Books are only worth what people are willing to pay.  It doesn't matter how much time and effort is put into it.  An author selling a $10 book put the same effort into it as an author selling a $1 or $2 book...but the lower price means more units will be sold and the cheaper price will reap more profits than the higher price.

                • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)
                  DiAnneInDover

                  My name finally came to the top of my library's waiting list for the first Lee Child book, The Killing Floor.  We received the prequel (One Shot) as a freebie several months ago, but since I wanted to read them in order, I've held off.

                   

                  The Jack Reacher books by Lee Child have had glowing reviews and I've been enjoying the story, but the writing quality is driving me bonkers.  He's one of those writers who feels that sentences should be made from clauses.  The more periods the better!  Ugh.  I remember one time picking up a Goosebumps book when my kids were little and it was the same way R.L. Stine wrote. The paragraphs were filled with three-word descriptive clauses separated by periods.  It was such horrible writing, I begged my daughters to read something else so they wouldn't learn from Stine's bad writing style. 

                   

                  Here's an example from the first page of Child's book:

                   

                  He was screaming as loud as he could. Blowing off his tension.  Trying to scare me.  Textbook moves.  Plenty of sound and fury to soften the target.  I raised my hands.  The guy with the revolver started in from the door.  The guy with the shotgun came closer.  Too close.  Their first error.

                   

                  A few pages later:

                   

                  Then I was walked to the left. They stoped me in front of a door. Baker swung it open and I was pushed into a room.  It was an interview facility. No windows. A white table and three chairs. Carpet.  In the top corner of the room, a camera. The air in the room was set very cold. I was still wet from the rain.

                   

                  At first, I thought he was just trying for some kind of staccato effect, but the same writing style has continued through the first 25% of the book (which is where I'm at).  I realize that in these two short examples, it's not bad.  But when every page is filled with the same type of thing, it's annoying.  I'm hoping he was just inexperienced and learns how to write in full descriptive sentences, but who knows. 

                  • Re: Making the first book in a series free makes sense (and dollars)

                    Yes, it does make sense - and being able to make a book free is one of the many good things about e-books!

                     

                    It's nice to be able to make it easier for readers to take a chance on an unfamiliar author. I certainly found the sales of my other books improved dramatically when I made the first one free.