A newsletter subscriber recently asked me this question:
"how does launching a book as a freebie help to make the book make money over the long term?"
I get this question a lot.
It's partly why I created a completely free course about how to launch a free book, and why I've even shown people "behind the scenes" of a free book launch that went on to generate tens of thousands of sales.
But neither of the above resources explain WHY giving a book away free would ever lead to sales.
And that's because the answer is:
A free book does not help you make money over the long haul.
But here are some reasons you should consider giving your book away for free anyway:
#1. Because A gift is easier to share
Which scenario is more likely to get a positive response (aka: "yes, of course!")?
Scenario 1: "Hi Tom, I wrote a new book. It's $15 on Kindle and $25 in paperback. Would you buy it?"
Scenario 2: "Hi Tom, I wrote a new book. I'm giving it away free on Amazon for a week. Can I send you a free copy to check it out?"
Perhaps it's not so much that a gift is easier to share.
But it is easier to accept.
And that makes all the difference.
#2. Because Ideas need to spread
A book is an idea (or perhaps, a conduit for an idea).
And ideas are like the fax machine (or bitcoin for all my millennials out there, holla!); one person using a fax machine makes it a giant, slightly obnoxious paperweight.
But 10,000 people using 10,000 fax machines turns it into a useful means of communication and exchange. The more people who get a fax machine and start using it, the more valuable everyone's fax machine becomes.
One person with an idea? Not very useful.
10,000 people discussing the same idea? Now that's powerful.
Giving your book away for free means more people can take part in the discussion, and maybe (just maybe) they'll invite their friends.
#3. Because It eliminates the barrier to entry
"Well, why not release your book for $.99? Doesn't that lower the barrier to entry?"
$.99 might not seem like much, but it is.
Psychologically, $.99 might as well be the Great Wall of China, dividing you from your potential customer.
Because the act of purchasing requires the customer to take out his wallet, contemplate the conceptual value of the thing he's buying, and then make a decision to give up known value for unknown value.
And yes, even at a $.99 price point, this subconscious battle takes place.
Get rid of the exchange of value, and you get rid of the barrier to entry.
#4. Because it will help you break through the Noise
There are more than 2,000 books published every day.
So on any given day, for any given reader EXCLUSIVELY looking to purchase a new book, you are a .05% consideration.
You can improve the odds dramatically by giving your book away for free (see: #3 above).
(and if you have any fame, clout, or notoriety - the odds get even better)
#5. Because useful ideas win
Books are ideas, and ideas need to spread (see: #2 above).
But once you get your book out there, then what?
Then you get to see if your book - your idea - has any utility.
And if it does, it will spread.
If it doesn't, then it goes the way of Crystal Pepsi.
And maybe that's for the best...
#6. Because you can
It took humankind thousands of years to get to the point where we could share an idea, instantly, with almost every other human being on the planet.
Now, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should...
But when giving your book away free will...
- allow you to give a gift...
- help you spread an idea...
- eliminate the barrier to entry so anyone can join in on the conversation...
- break through the noise so you can get noticed...
- test your chops to see if your idea is useful...
Then why not take advantage of that?
Here's an idea I think is worth spreading. It's free until January 19, 2018. You should pick it up, join in on the conversation, and test it's utility to see if it's worth spreading.