C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Ultimate Blog Challenge: Considering free ebooks

July 16, 17, 18

The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is FREE 

FREE FOR 3 DAYS.
Small-town terrors and psychological mayhem in Maine.

Last week I read a couple of debates about whether free is good or bad. JA Konrath is all for it. Blake Crouch isn’t so sure. There are good points on both sides of the debate. You’ll notice I’m offering one of my short story collections for free for three days this week in the hope that I will gain some readers who wouldn’t otherwise find me. I do so wholeheartedly and hope you’ll go grab it. It helps to get on lists like “Customers Also Viewed…” and so on. This post is about book promotion. I think Free is still a useful tool, though its edge has dulled considerably.

The root of the back and forth on the issue of using free as a promotional tool seems to break down along two main lines:

1. Argument against free from principle (i.e. Art shouldn’t be devalued and lowering readers’ expectations of price is a stupid strategy in the long term.) Argument 1 might be right in the long-term, but if I don’t get into your consciousness now, there may be no long-term for me as a writer. Also, the exclusivity that KDP Select requires — three months at a time — rubs many authors raw. Amazon has certainly lost some of its shine and if you lose too many sales because you aren’t up on Kobo etc.,… as well, free days on Amazon probably don’t make sense past your first three months of offering the book. It’s also argued, often effectively, that free feeds the trolls of the one-star review brigade who review harshly because they didn’t pay attention to what they were “buying.” Or they’re just it in to be mean trolls, I guess. So you can argue that free hurts not only the cause of enlightened literacy generally, but it hurts author’s feelings and review ratings individually.

2. Argument for free because it works (i.e. If you can write, you can sell books, but not if no one knows who you are. Give away to get new readers.) Argument 2 is weakened because, since Amazon changed its algorithms, free doesn’t work nearly as well as it did a few months ago. People are loading up their kindles, but are they ever getting around to reading all that hoarded goodness so they could, theoretically, become a fan and buy the rest of my books? (If you don’t have multiple books for sale, free surely won’t help you now. Have multiple books going before you dive into KDP Select’s free days.)

So here’s my strategy:

A. I try not to confuse an Ought with an Is. The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is a collection of fun suspense and small-town mayhem in Poeticule Bay, Maine. In the future, I plan a series of suspenseful novels set in Poeticule Bay. Many of my stories have characters who cross-pollinate other stories. (For instance, Jesus Diaz, my luckless Cuban hit man, shows up first in a story in Self-help for Stoners.) There is worthy cross-promotion in this.

B. I added value to this collection. The novella, The Dangerous Kind and several of the stories were previously published individually and sold for 99 cents each. I added two more stories to the collection, including the award winner The Sum of Me (which brought down the house when I gave a reading at a writers conference a few years ago.) The Sum of Me appeals to writers or anyone who has struggled with credit card debt. The usual price of the collection is only $2.99 and for three days, it’s free. Good deal.

C. What I put up on Amazon for free will only be available for a limited time. After my three-month exclusivity contract with KDP Select is over, I’ll put the books up on the other platforms. (As mentioned last week on this blog, Kobo, as one instance, is changing things up and coming on stronger. Keep an eye on them.)

Questions remain: When I read a guru with a big name say we should do this or that to sell our books, I wonder, does the same strategy work for a big name as a small one? Is every bit of advice fungible? Things change. If we were still on Amazon’s old Free List to Paid List formula (and maybe if we weren’t in the middle of a glut of free) I’d already be sitting pretty.

Good strategies are realistic, doable, measurable, timely (and are always declared “good” after the fact and without factoring in luck.) I’ll let you know if this strategy moves the needle.

Free might not be as good as it once was,

but now I don’t know what else to do to get off the bench besides write another book.

I’m already doing that.

PLEASE GRAB THE DANGEROUS KIND & OTHER STORIES HERE

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Author Blog Challenge #26: The demons in my head

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW!

The Dangerous Kind & Other Stories is up on Amazon! It’s kind of the perfect day to address the Author Blog Challenge prompt: What’s your next book about?

I wrote my novella, The Dangerous Kind, about small-town claustrophobia in Maine and the deadly contempt that familiarity can breed. Two brothers have just lost their father to an accident at the mill. They both want the insurance settlement and a hunting trip might yield an opportunity to solve problems with murder. Did I mention there are surprises? I love surprises, don’t you?

Now I’ve bundled The Dangerous Kind with the following SIX shorts,

all precursors to the coming Poeticule Bay Series of novels:

I’ve dealt out deadly consequences to collections agents in the popular award winner End of

Paranormal persuasion and scary stories.

the Line (from Sex, Death & Mind Control). This time I deal with real world problems in different ways. In The Sum of Me, an aspiring writer gets financial help that hurts. I gave a reading of this short story live at a writing convention (to thunderous applause) and it also won an honourable mention from Writer’s Digest. Everyone identified with the palpable writerly desperation.

What do you do when your psychotherapist dumps you? Read Vengeance is #1, about Georgie, a mean girl with bad timing. She’ll give you some tips on how to handle it. Please note: All her ideas are very bad. It reads like steroidal YA. Watch out for the sharp and dangerous mood swings.

You’re a serial killer. Your therapist is helping you to control your impulses. She only wants you to kill the lost causes of she chooses from her patient pool. Then someone comes along who you want to slay so badly you can almost taste the blood. What then? Then it’s mind game time! Take Corrective Measures.

In Over & Out, a wife abandons her husband and children. He tries to put up a brave front while quietly dying inside (maybe literally.) Then he discovers the power of hypochondria and how self-help is sometimes the opposite of real help. Psychological horror and revelations in a little neurotic cup!

In Asia Unbound, a starlet returns to Poeticule Bay for her uncle’s funeral. She meets up with her high school boyfriend, now Marcus in the Morning, your friendly and miserable radio DJ. Drinks are thrown back, mice are killed and awful secrets from the past are revealed. Your heart might bleed for them both, but you should really only feel sorry for one of them. Life’s a mystery you can solve and still get it all wrong.

In this strange follow-up to Asia Unbound, Marcus in the Morning is at work the next day using the power of his microphone to argue with God. In Parting Shots, Marcus is about to find out that there are some arguments you definitely do not want to win! A conundrum is drummed. Fatal deals are made. Hold on to your faith. You’re going to need it.

~ Robert Chazz Chute has won seven writing awards of vastly varying importance and was nominated for a Maggy Award for his columns. He is the author of the newly released (very funny and super twisty) crime novel Bigger Than Jesus. You might know him from Self-help for Stoners, meeting Kevin Smith and such industrial films as Hitting People in the Face with Ball Peen Hammers is Wrong (except in Texas) and Writing About Yourself in the Third Person for an Author Profile Sure Sounds Douchey, Doesn’t It? Please buy his books. Otherwise he cries and it’s hopelessly pathetic. Hopeless!

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Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

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