Back in November I released "Saturday Night" for free on Smashwords.com. It's had over a thousand downloads since then. In fact, all of my "Free" reads are doing incredibly well when it comes down to the number of people who have downloaded them. Most of them have a small handful of good reviews too, which makes me very happy. The whole idea is to give everyone a taste, and hope they will come back for more.
The problem is, no one wants to buy from Smashwords because while it is author friendly (high royalties, the ability to give discounts or offer a book for free at any time, multiple formats) its not so reader friendly. Amazon is awesome because the reader pushes one button and the book is in their cloud, immediately available on their computer or kindle. Because I always visit Smashwords on my computer and I read on my kindle...the files never get transferred (there's never a sync cord when you need one) and they never get read.
Amazon has only two ways you can post for free. KDP Select or price matching. Select is lame because you only get 5 free days every quarter and you can't offer your book anywhere else while its listed. And price matching is almost impossible unless you have a bunch of people telling Amazon they're getting your work free somewhere else. As a writer with less than 100 sales on Amazon a month, that doesn't really happen for me.
Right now I have 4 stories up for free on Smashwords. "Saturday Night", "In the Dark", "Boy" and "Drain Me Dry." I write all over the board, so I wanted to have a het, gay, and a lesbian story available for free to cover all my bases. I also figure that if I offer "Drain Me Dry" for free more people will buy the sequel, which is priced at $1.49 instead of $0.99. So far this has been true.
By not listing these works on Amazon I'm missing out on visibility and offering my readers variety. "Drain Me Dry" seems to springboard people into not only "Addicted to the Bite" but also my less popular "Brian is Gay." "Saturday Night" is a good, strong short. The sex is hot, the story around it is engaging, and if someone reads it first they're likely to come back for more. I don't like charging for it, but more people shop on Amazon than Smashwords, and over-all I just want people to read my work and enjoy it. So "Saturday Night" just went up for 99 cents on Amazon. (They tried to accuse me of stealing it since it was already online.) "In the Dark" has been there a while. Its not very long so it doesnt get many sales. (Also my gay stories sell better than anything else.) I've only sold two copies of Saturday Night so far, but I have a feeling it's going to be a strong, steady seller because like I said, it's good.
Eventually all of the free stories are going to be stuck into collections when I have more to publish, but they will still be listed for free individually. You just wont know about it unless you read this blog or follow me on twitter.
Saturday Night on Smashwords
Saturday Night on Amazon.