Honestly, I have no idea. I'm still very new to the self-publishing world (although I've been traditionally published for 4 years) and trying my best to figure everything out. Naturally, I want to earn a decent income. But, I also want to give readers something of value for their money. (On a side note, I still filed copyright. I mention this now because I've heard horror stories of people being ripped off. But, back to the subject.)
I believe in my writing. If I thought my stories were crap, I'd never try to sell them to anyone. Actually, if I thought they were crap, I'd be embarassed to even give them away. I wouldn't want my name on it.
That being said, I released my first self-published book Dec. 26, 2011, Frank and The Werewolf Tamer.
I was and still am thrilled about this new release. I set the price at $2.99. That is the minimum where I feel I can earn a decent royalty and survive and still give readers a good price. In its first week, Frank and The Werewolf Tamer sold a whoping 14 copies. I was crushed. I'd heard others say their sales started out slow, but this was depressing.
So, I decided to take advantage of the Kindle Select program I'd signed up for. By the way, I see no benefit to this program other than being able to offer your books as free for 5 days every 90 days. I may not re-enroll after 90 days. That's still up in the air.
Now, want to hear something really sad? Frank and The Werewolf Tamer has been downloaded over 600 times since yesterday morning.
I can't help but wonder if people are just not willing to pay for my work. Which is VERY depressing. Or if everyone is taking a chance on it because it's free.
My hope (and fondest wish) is that new readers will find me this way, love the book, and spread the word. Maybe by the time the promotion runs out, people will be willing to pay $2.99. Seriously, that's still cheap.
I've heard other people speculate that sales go up an average of 30% when a free book is offered. But, I don't think you can count on that. I believe that every situation is different. What works for one book (or author) may not work for another. However, in the on-going effort to pay my bills, I keep trying.
At the moment, I'm viewing this as in investment. That's advertisement that didn't cost me a thing and at least 600 people have heard my name.
If you've already experimented with free books and/or self-publishing, and you wouldn't mind, please share your results with us:) Comments and suggestions are very welcome.