Friday, January 7, 2011

A Sale and a Freebie

Torquere is the featured publisher over on Rainbow eBooks this weekend, so all their books there are 20% off, including my urban fantasy A Hidden Magic.

Also, the holiday story fest put on by the M/M Romance group on Goodreads -- the event for which I wrote "The Gift" -- is wrapping up with an e-book anthology of all the stories written for the event. The book is called Stuff My Stocking, and it's a free download on Goodreads. Lots of fun stuff there.


Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder how such giveaways affect sales and stuff. It sounds like a good idea.

Angie said...

Charles -- on the giveaway, the stories were written for a holiday event that was done for fun. None of us who wrote stories for it expected any money, and neither the stories nor the anthology are up for sale anywhere that I know of. (Note that each writer owns their own story, and could publish it somewhere commercially if they wanted to; I just haven't heard that anyone has.)

One of the group members, working with the moderator who coordinated the event, collected all the stories into a book and put it up in various file formats after the holidays to make it easier for people to find/read the stories after the fact.

If we were selling the e-book, then giving it away for free for a while could help prime the pump to stimulate interest, word-of-mouth and eventual sales. If we were selling a paper book, then giving away the e-book might or might not stimulate sales there; from what I've heard, it depends on the audience.

Over on the mainstream SF/F side of the industry, anecdotal evidence from some fairly major names shows that giving away an electronic copy helps drive sales of paper books. Most people still much prefer paper books, and giving away a free e-book means that some number of people who might've hesitated to spend money on the paper book will try the freebie, like it, and go pay for the paper edition.

M/M romance is a very e-book-heavy genre, though, and a lot of dedicated e-book readers prefer e-books and aren't much interested in paperbacks. Add in the fact that most m/m romance comes out from small presses that can't afford to print 5000 mass-market paperbacks at a shot, and therefore offer trade paperbacks (at twice the price) where they offer paperbacks at all. The vast majority of the m/m romance authors who've had paperback editions offered and who discussed their numbers say that their paperback sales are tiny compared with their e-book sales; ten percent or less isn't uncommon.

Under those circumstances, giving away the e-book in hopes of driving paper book sales isn't a great strategy, since the e-book is going to be the vast majority of your sales.

On the Big New York Press side of the business, though, giving away the e-book version seems to be a great strategy. There are a lot more people who'll read it for free, decide they like it, then hand over $7.99 for a paperback. So it depends where you are and what formats you're offering.