Hey Gang: I was wanting to get everyone's take on whether or not you thought that distributing a few short stories for free on Amazon Kindle is a good way to introduce new readers to one's novels? For those who have distributed stories for free, has it resulted in enough downloads to expand your readership? Was it worthwhile? Interested in your thoughts.

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I believe you give away your work only when it is worthless.  People who want free things rarely move on to become paying readers.  You might give away the stories as a bonus when the reader buys the novel.  You could bundle three or more stories and sell it for a low price.  Put a big plug (maybe a partial chapter) or a discount on the novel itself.  People in this country use price to gauge value.  If the price is zero, you are catering to a different crowd than those who pay.  I've read the experiences several writers who have tried the freebee thing without a good result.

 

I hope this helps.

 

I charge 99 cents for my stories, but I see that Konrath is having second thoughts about that.  Brian is right, it seems.  People assume a thing isn't worth anything if it doesn't cost anything.  Sure they'll download and drive your numbers up, but they don't seem to turn into ordinary customers.  A bad review I got on Amazon for one of my Penguin-published books was from a guy who admitted he'd got the book from his library.  Konrath's recent experiment points to the fact that he sells an equal amount between the 99 cent deal and the 2.99 one.

Interesting observations. I do have similar feelings to giving away stories for free, but have heard that some authors find that the loss-leaders can attract new readers to the novels. I currently have my thriller K.A.R.M.A. listed at $2.99, while Switch and No Cry For Help are at the publisher’s price of $8 to $10. My short story, UnderBelly, that is part of the First Thrills collection sells well at $4.47 - although that has to do with the bigger names attached to the collection ;-) Definitely food for thought here.

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