It isn’t the first time I’ve given JACK’O’LANTERN (and other stories) away. But it’s a Halloween story, and I think it’s pretty good. The title story was published on a magazine/blog site called “Friendly Fiction” a few years back, and the site’s editor had a go at it, suggesting changes. I made several at that time, and ignored a few that I disagreed with. The result was a fairly tight story. I connected it with two other Holiday stories, THE MOMENT (about a junior high student who finally finds the courage to ask his crush to dance at the school Halloween mixer, through the anonymity of a costume) and SARAH’S PUPPY (where a little girl hears the barking of a puppy that she’s hoping she’ll get for Christmas and meets a bearded stranger by the tree in her living room), because all of them feature younger children and holidays, even though only the title story is horror.
So, for Halloween, I decided to give it away again. What the heck? I thought. Maybe someone will like the stories enough to buy the collection that it’s also a part of, 14 DARK WINDOWS. (No one did.) But I also put in sample chapters of both of my $0.99 novellas, THE INN and THE CAVE. My hope is that someone will read the three short stories, read the sample chapters and be interested enough to check out the novellas. Maybe realize that they’re bargain basement priced at $0.99, and will buy one or both.
As it turns out, I did sell one copy of THE INN during the giveaway. Whether it was because of the short story giveaway, who knows?
All in all, I gave away something like 33 copies of the collection, which is back up to $0.99 today. Would I buy it myself for $0.99? No. I’d spend that same $0.99 and buy the collection mentioned above. I clearly state as the first line in the story trio’s description that it is part of that collection and that the collection also costs only $0.99.
The pattern was something like this: Thursday, 8 free copies were downloaded, with virtually no promotion besides mentioning it on Facebook. And I think the downloads occurred before I even made the Facebook post. On Friday, 6 free copies. Saturday, only 1 copy was downloaded. I posted pictures later on Friday of my own pumpkin carvings on my Scott Dyson page, with another link to the giveaway title. On Sunday the number went back up to 5 free downloads.
Then on Monday, I thought to mention it on Goodreads, in a group I lurk within called Horror Afficionados. As a direct result of that mention, 13 more copies were downloaded. More to the point, they were downloaded by people who like horror, if I can safely assume that those who read the post in the promotion topic on the bulletin board. I can only hope that they get around to reading them and like the sample chapters enough to try my novellas.
So the promotion is done for now.
I’ve been thinking about a topic for a post soon about how I personally rank the elements of a novel when I’m reading it. Still thinking about how to organize it.
Till then, have a great day.
Maybe it’s just me, but as a reader I have a problem when an author offers a freebie (other than books for reviews or prelim versions on her/his website, which is what I do). I think I paid for The Inn, if memory serves (sometimes it doesn’t serve me well); I tend to bypass those $0 offers on Amazon, BookBub, and other places too.
My attitude towards this is a wee bit like open software: if I like it, and use it, I’m willing to pay something for it. Maybe just me, like I said.
Hi, Steve, if you read my latest post about E, I would likely have not taken the chance had it not been offered on promotion (for free). In the end, I’m glad I did. My feelings about my short stories is that they’re sort of out there to promote the collection and my novellas (and future novellas and novels, I hope). In fact, they’re priced at the same point as the collection that contains all 14 of them, only because Amazon allows no lower pricing. So I don’t mind giving them away once in a while. No one’s buying them anyway. 🙁 If I get one person who tries THE INN or THE CAVE or DIE 6 or THE STRIKER FILES because they read these short stories and liked them enough to drop a buck on something else, great.
OTOH, I understand your feeling. Yes, you did pay for THE INN; I remember thinking that you probably wouldn’t like it because of the subject matter, so I didn’t send it. Made your review worth that much more! 🙂 A lot of the free stuff on Amazon (the permanently free stuff at least) seems kind of, well, schlocky. (I opened another free book that I downloaded at the same time as I got E, and here’s the first sentence: “Shh, there all around us!” I typed it exactly as it was written. First sentence. Not a very auspicious start! )
In response to your OTOH, one of the negatives of the new publishing paradigm is that anyone can publish any quality of book–their first book (not necessarily a good idea), a book without any content or copy editing, or a book that can beat the pants off anything the Big Five puts out. You’re right–$0 cost means downloading a freebie is only an investment of time, but s/he can clutter up that Kindle fast that way. I know people that do that almost as much as with all those photos cluttering up their smart phones. It’s the counter to TANSTAAFL: “I’ll download anything if it’s free.”
I’ll avoid the download if I see from the blurbs and a “peek inside” that my initial interest isn’t justified.
And I still say we shouldn’t encourage giving art away. Writers should value their work; readers should show that they value it too. Maybe the writers are the real culprits.