Free is a gateway.
In the self-publishing world, giving away the first book in a series for free is one of the ways authors can get people to take a chance on their work. The phrase is called “perma-free,” meaning permanently free and it allows readers to check out a new author or new series with no risk. The read-through rate of people who get a free book and buy the next one is around 15-17%.
For new authors or writers kicking off a series, like we are with Gabby Wells, the free model is still the preferred method, but you don’t want to give away the first and only book you have available. So, what should you do?
Write a prequel.
This is something I had thought about doing anyway, but now it’ll give me the impetus to make it a priority. So, as we finish the polish of the first novel, Water & Blood, I am going to write a prequel novella called The Homecoming Incident.
All of the prequels will be around 25,000 words and fall under the Gabby Wells Chronicles, if, indeed, we write future stories that happen prior to the novel series.
The greatest enjoyment I’m having in writing The Homecoming Incident is it allows me to interact in the characters lives before the heavy drama in the novel series. The weight of the events that unfold in the series are in the future, so their lives in the prequels are lighter, more fun and we can enjoy how their relationships started.
So, our current plan is to release The Homecoming Incident for free (eventually, I’ll explain that in a second) as a gateway, a funnel, to drive readers to take a chance on Water & Blood.
The problem with the Perma-Free model is that you can’t release a book free out of the block. Why? Because there’s no reason for Amazon to allow people to post books on their website for free, where they don’t get any cut of the sale price. The only way to get a book as Perma-Free is to also post your book for sale on other sites for free and then ask Amazon to price match, which they will, when they get around to it.
Therefore, the prequel will have to be offered for .99 to start.
Now, the way things change, Amazon could decide to no longer offer free books at all, but since it is an effective way for readers to buy other books on their site, the pros out way the cons, for now.
My goal is to write 1500 words a day and hope to get the first draft of the novella done in a few weeks. Eventually you’ll be able to get it for free. I hope it spurs interest in people to take a chance on Water & Blood.
If not, I’ll enjoy the time I get to spend with the characters in their prior lives, solving mysteries, getting into trouble and having fun.
It’s a win-win situation.