Well, my publisher, William Morrow, has decided to promote the new Bangkok thriller, THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, by giving away the Kindle version of the first one, which is called A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART.  They're including three chapters of QUEEN to try to lead readers from one book to the other.

What does anyone think of this idea?  Any drawbacks?  (NAIL will only be free for about a month, after which it'll go back to $9.99.)  Any ways occur to anyone re: how to capitalize on it?

I don't know whether they're doing the same thing with the Barnes & Noble e-book version.  Should they?

Opinions or thoughts, anyone?

Thanks in advance.

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I don't see how exposing more people to a writer's work can be anything but a good thing. True, you give away too much and it costs you money, but there has to be a balancing point somewhere.

John McFetridge has some insights on this issue. I know that scifi writer Cory Docterow is a big believer in this kind of promotion, and appears to work well for him.
I think it's worth a shot, but you make a good point when you say that PATPONG's $12.99 price point may be a bit of an obstacle for a lot of Kindle users. I don't see a big downside, except that in my brief history with this stuff the release of my second book spiked sales of my first book as new readers sought to acquaint themselves with the series. Those royalties on Kindle will be lost, which is kind of a shame--but it sounds like your publisher's hoping for some pretty big numbers for PATPONG, so what the hell--worth a shot, as I say.

Good luck with the new one, Tim. And +1 on the Wodehouse thing, although I feel guilty for downloading him for free.
Oh, well, Jon. Now that he's no longer with us, I don't feel so bad. I'd download Stieg Larson for free in a shot knowing that all the $$$ is going to the father and brother he disliked rather than to the woman with whom he shared his life for 30 years.

On the other hand, if I were dead I'd come back from the grave to disturb the sleep of those who DL'd me for free, taking royalties away from my wife.

I guess I'm conflicted.
Hi, Dan --

QUEEN is my tenth published novel and, like many of us, I've benefited from excellent reviews and suffered from lousy sales. My take on it is that the other titles in the series are good (he said immodestly) and that people who read NAIL will want to read more, if it's their cup of tea at all. It's the darkest book in the series, but that'll just weed out the wusses. (Just kidding, wusses. You'll love it. No, you won't, actually. It gets pretty serious. But the others don't go so dark.)
Everything I read about promotion opportunities and the associated results with e-books point to this being a great idea. You'll get your name and work out to people who might otherwise not know you or read your book. Best of luck---gotta go turn on my Kindle and --- H-A-L-L-I-N-A-N ? Is that how you spell it? :)

Hi, Susan, and thanks. Wish I could take credit for thinking of it, but it was the marketing people at William Morrow, bless their enthusiastic little hearts.

And you spell brilliantly. Now what we need ffor you to do is go on Amazon and type that over and over and over and
Only a handful of people own the kindle, many others have downloaded the free PC and other free versions. And not all of them will jump on the occasion to get the free book. You have to hope that enough of them will, and that little bunch will do to create a word of mouth buzz. It is a good and relatively economic way to create a buzz
Yeah, there are no guaranteed home runs. Amazon has sold more Kindles over the past year, though, than it has any other single item, and something like 12% of their book sales are now for Kindle. You only need a few thousand extra sales to push a book into profit. Having said all that, I have no idea at all whether there will be any impact, but there's no point in not giving it a try.
There's a book on this subject that had been generating buzz upon its release last year: FREE: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. I haven't actually _read_ it, but from what I've read in terms of press coverage (and from the opening, which I skimmed), there are some interesting arguments to be made. (Also, the author posted the book up online for free for a matter of weeks right around its release, and _possibly_ as a result of the buzz, the book sold briskly).

Generally, this kind of promotion is hot s#&$ right now--I remember Random House promoted Lee Child's GONE TOMORROW by offering one of his first novels at Random, PERSUADER, as a free download from Child's website. I would have bought GONE TOMORROW anyway, but the freebie did get me an added incentive to mention when recommending the Reacher series to others ("look, you can try the series out for free before you take the plunge"--that sort of thing).

In terms of how to capitalize, just make sure word goes up on your site (if that's not where the download will already be taking place), spread the news through Twitter if you're on it, and make sure the bloggers know about it. The readers should do the rest of the work for you; the point of this kind of Web 2.0 promotion is the community's contribution to generating the buzz.
Thanks, Wes -- Will do my end to get the word out. I've joined a few e-book groups and I already belong to three general mystery groups, although each has its own set of rules about BSP. The main thing I'm going to do is an e-mail, part of a series I do monthly on writing and creativity, that goes to about 3,000 people who have left me messages at my website. Most of the time, the newsletters are plug-free, but I'm making a big exception here,
Yeah, the newsletter sounds like a good idea. And thinking about it more, the blogger angle is something that publicity and marketing is likely already handling for you at Morrow.

Hope it turns out well. I've heard great things about your books and have been meaning to check out A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART, actually--in fact, the only thing that stopped me from picking it up the last time I considered was the amount of weight I'd already been lugging around at the time. (One of the unexpected benefits of owning an e-Reader; I never have this problem with digital purchases).

Once that free promotion starts taking place, I'll definitely be one of the curious downloading the book; I expect I'll end up getting hooked in to the rest pretty quickly.
Tim's books are great! Highly recommended.


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