“Whassamatter with you guys? 127 minutes to go and the offer for a FREE Kindle copy of [Book Title] closes! Tick tock…”
Reading between the characters (tweets are so short you don’t get the luxury of lines) here is an author trying to promote his book who thought it would be a good idea to give it away free for a period to get some interest going. It seems like a reasonable thing to do and yet, you can tell he isn’t having a lot of luck with it. The puzzlement is obvious; surely people will grab a copy of your book if it’s free? After all, it’s free! Free, as in, it doesn’t cost you a penny. There is also, I suspect, a hint of fear there too. If you can’t give your book away for free, what do you have to do to get people to read it?
The problem is that the premise is all wrong. A book – any book – is never free, even if you don’t have to pay for it. It will still cost you hours of your time to read it. And your time is without doubt the most precious thing you own. It’s a finite resource, you have very little of it to spare, and there are a million other things you could be spending it on.
So let me make this post uncharacteristically short and jump straight to the take-home message. If you want people to read your book, you have to persuade them that it is worth their time to do so. Sell it to them. Get them to want it. Convince them that the hours they spend reading it will be much more fun and fulfilling than spending those same hours in any other way, and on any other book. Then you won’t need to give it away – or sell it for $0.99c. An experience that good is worth paying real money for.