I have read extensive debate about the offering of your books for free. Some have mentioned that people will download your free book and probably never read it. Others have said that you are making your hard work look cheap by offering it for free. Very valid arguments but for me it came back to my reasons for writing The Finest Line in the first place.
I have been writing for over forty years. Hardly a day in my life has gone by when I haven't written something, whether it be a silly poem, a stage play, a screenplay, notes for a plot I might use one day, my thoughts, my ideas. I have a burning passion to write. What I have published is the very tip of the iceberg of my writings. It is a passion that has been passed onto two of my children.
Getting a book out there for the world to read was a celebration of my writing life. I didn't expect it to make any money. All I wanted was to give people a chance to celebrate with me, so The Finest Line was released for US$2.99, which was the cheapest option that KDP would allow me at that time. I released it to Smashwords for the same price but discovered that Smashwords would allow me to give it away for free, so I did.
Completely green to the world of book marketing, I was astonished when I saw that my book had gone free on Amazon. They hadn't contacted me to tell me they were doing this and it took me a while to learn about the concept of price-matching. I was a little annoyed because I thought that there should be a regular communication between myself and Amazon whenever there were changes to my book. How wrong was I?
What happened next completely astounded me. The Finest Line shot to #1 in Free Kindle Erotica in the US, two months after publication. Not long after that it went to #1 in the UK, France and Italy. People around the world were reading my book, well at least downloading it. That was all the reward I would ever want, but when I released my second book in December 2012, I discovered how much people had enjoyed their free read. A Line Crossed had 200 downloads in the first week of release as PAID. It went to the top 100 Bestsellers in Erotica. Suddenly I was an established erotic romance author. The third book had the same reaction when released in May 2013.
Now in 2014 my fourth book is doing fantastic, already in the bestselling lists in Amazon UK and Germany two weeks after release. I now work full time as an author and yes, I am writing another book.
The Finest Line remains free but a strange phenomenon occurs over which I have no control. Whenever it looks to go #1 again on Amazon, it suddenly appears with a price. It drops out of the ranking to obscurity but within hours has sold so many that it begins to hit the paid erotica bestsellers. Then just as suddenly it goes back to free. I don't know what that is all about but it keeps it interesting.
To this day, The Finest Line has had about 80,000 downloads, most of them free. Not everyone likes the book, but that's okay, because I really like to think they didn't have to pay for it at least. By being free, the reader can make the decision without cost whether they like my writing or not.
To release a book free, even if it's only temporary, can only be a great marketing strategy that I stumbled upon in my ignorance. There are numerous sites that will also advertise a free book for nothing, and this might just be the strategy you've been needing to share your own passion with the world.