Author Topic: Publishers catching onto the power of free?  (Read 4391 times)  

Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
  • ****
  • Posts: 598
  • Gender: Male
  • Fairfax, VA
    • View Profile
Publishers catching onto the power of free?
« on: July 17, 2013, 05:14:06 am »
So I tried and tried to convince my publisher to do a "free extended preview" for my first set of books to no avail.  But now a year and a half later they consented for The Crown Tower!  Yeah!  It's good to see they can learn from the techniques that have proven so well for us. For them to make something "permafree" was an easy task - Now we just have to get this feature for indies (other than through the matching or the 5-day select thing).

In any case, if you could download a copy to give it a signal boost it would help show the publishers that this was a good idea, and maybe they'll do it next time I ask.  Plus you get the first 5 chapter of my new book for nothing!  While this free preview is available on several sites - the one I care the most about (obviously) is kindle.  (Here is a link).



Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.
A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the old wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, they just might do it.
Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline S. Shine

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 517
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 05:57:46 am »
    Tried to buy it and got:  This title is not currently available for purchase. :(
    Started publishing January 25 2013 :)

    Offline Janet Michelson

    • Status: Scheherazade-10012
    • *****
    • Posts: 1081
    • Gender: Female
    • Midwest
    • Uncanny chalk likeness of me.
      • View Profile
      • jm-editing
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 06:46:04 am »
    Got it! Good luck and thank you for being a trailblazer.  :)

    FREELANCE EDITING      www.jm-editing.com
    Janet Michelson

    Offline Randall Boleyn

    • Status: Lewis Carroll-10005
    • **
    • Posts: 175
    • Gender: Male
    • VA
    • Randall Boleyn
      • View Profile
      • RandallBoleyn.com
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 06:46:18 am »
    Downloaded with no problem. Since I'd bought your other books last year, I was wondering if Zon would advise of previously purchased. Different animal, evidently. Good luck with free run. Anyone who reads it will have to spring for all your others.

    Offline Clark Magnan

    • Status: Lewis Carroll-10005
    • **
    • Posts: 231
    • Gender: Male
    • Quincy, MA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 06:50:31 am »
    Worked fine for me and I really appreciate being able to sample so much of a book before buying. I've never understood why samples are usually so short. Is there a fear that I'll read a quarter of the book and say "That was good, but I've had enough"?

    Offline Nicholas Andrews

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 993
    • Gender: Male
    • Dayton, OH
    • authornicholasandrews.com
      • View Profile
      • My Website
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 06:53:53 am »
    It worked for me.
       
    The Whims of War (The Law of Eight - Book 4): 6%

    Nicholas Andrews | Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Offline Tim_A

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 837
    • Gender: Male
    • Oxfordshire
      • View Profile
      • Om Spec - Tim Arnot's book page
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 07:07:16 am »
    Doesn't appear to be available in the UK.
    « Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 07:09:03 am by Tim_A »

    bardsandsages

    • Guest
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 07:13:42 am »
    Rant Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk.

    I am getting tired already of these quasi-products being promoted on Amazon as free books when they are just ads. The title of this thread is misleading. This isn't a free book. It's a sample disguised as a full product.

    Do indies REALLY want the free lists clogged up with trade publishing promoting half-books? None of us here are allowed to do this. yes, the book is labeled as a preview. But guess what? Insofar as visibility and ranking on Amazon, it is being treated as a normal book. It makes me a little sick to my stomach that a trade publishers can now eat up the top spots in the genre free rankings by offering excerpts, thus reducing the visibility of fully written indie books.

    I have nothing but respect for Michael. But you really know better than to pretend this is some "win" where trade publishing is borrowing from indies. It isn't. They are playing the system by taking advantage of an opportunity they have that indies don't. Indies aren't allowed to offer free previews on Amazon, in Select or otherwise. Your publisher is stealing rank on the free lists with a product that isn't even a full book.

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 08:02:48 am »
    Tried to buy it and got:  This title is not currently available for purchase. :(

    Where are you located at?  What country?
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 08:05:21 am »
    In other related news...It looks like Neil Gaiman's publisher is also getting on the "free bandwagon" as Sandman #1 is also free right now.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Amanda Brice

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe-10016
    • *******
    • Posts: 5749
    • Gender: Female
    • Alexandria, VA
      • View Profile
      • Amanda Brice
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 08:06:17 am »
    Congrats, Michael, but I agree with Julie. I really hate the "extended free preview" thingies. It's not actually a book, so shouldn't be treated as such in the "free books" rankings.
     
    Dance with danger - fall in love!
    Amanda Brice | author website | facebook | youtube

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 08:08:44 am »
    Doesn't appear to be available in the UK.

    Well that stinks - I just went to look on the uk site and they don't have a free preview there - I'll talk to Orbit to see if I can get one there, but considering how hard it was to get it for US I'm not optimistic.

    If you want a copy - email me (michael (dot)sullivan(dot)dc(at)gmail(dot)com) and I'll send you one.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline jackz4000

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2781
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 08:15:14 am »
    Have to agree with Julie. James Patterson has been doing this "free preview" and it gets ranked by Amazon. Seems to be for big publishers only.  ::)

    Offline RoseInTheTardis

    • Status: Jane Austen-10011
    • ***
    • Posts: 398
    • Gender: Female
    • Seattle, WA
    • Writing keeps me sane *and* makes me crazy.
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 08:19:24 am »
    In other related news...It looks like Neil Gaiman's publisher is also getting on the "free bandwagon" as Sandman #1 is also free right now.

    Free comics, especially the first in the series, is absolutely nothing new. Comics are expensive, even in digital form, and most series eventually offer the first issue for free. It's the same as the sample Julie talked about, because it's literally only the first chapter(s) of a long story that will cost $.99-2.99 an issue from then on out.

    Offline MamaProfCrash

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe-10016
    • *******
    • Posts: 5981
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 08:20:54 am »
    I went to the first link and the free offer is the first five chapters. BAsed on what was posted here, I thought it would be the book and the first five chapters of the second book. I did pick up the Sandman for free. Love that series and having it to read on an iPad will be sweet

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #15 on: July 17, 2013, 08:21:01 am »
    I am getting tired already of these quasi-products being promoted on Amazon as free books when they are just ads. The title of this thread is misleading. This isn't a free book. It's a sample disguised as a full product.

    I think it is going to be one of those "to each their own" - I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy Sanderson's Alloy of Law and so I got the free preview (I think it was the first 5 of 6 chapters) and once I read it I did buy the whole book - so in my case it worked for me.

    On the other hand...I tried one of these for a James Patterson book, and decided not to buy.  So I guess it could have a negative impact on sales as well.  

    Bottom line - I find them useful.

    Do indies REALLY want the free lists clogged up with trade publishing promoting half-books? None of us here are allowed to do this. yes, the book is labeled as a preview. But guess what? Insofar as visibility and ranking on Amazon, it is being treated as a normal book. It makes me a little sick to my stomach that a trade publishers can now eat up the top spots in the genre free rankings by offering excerpts, thus reducing the visibility of fully written indie books.

    I don't see why you say that "we can't do this."  I did it for The Crown Tower back when it was self-published.  I had the "full book" and a "preview" copy and I did the same tricks to make it permafree as I have done with my short story The Viscount and the Witch.  If you want to gripe about something it would be that publishers can "make it free" with no work whatsoever whereas indies have to go through hoops (for permafree) or only get 5 days in 90 via select.


    I have nothing but respect for Michael. But you really know better than to pretend this is some "win" where trade publishing is borrowing from indies. It isn't. They are playing the system by taking advantage of an opportunity they have that indies don't. Indies aren't allowed to offer free previews on Amazon, in Select or otherwise. Your publisher is stealing rank on the free lists with a product that isn't even a full book.

    We'll have to agree to disagree...I personally think hybrid is the way to go so I plan on having traditional in my "mix" in one way or another. Getting them to adopt "more progressive" strategies has been very difficult, but when they do - I do think it is good for authors.  

    Again I don't know why you say indies can't do this - I know I did - and it worked well - and one of the reasons why I wanted them to as well. Instead of thinking of it as "stealing a place" think about it from the reader's perspective (where all our eyes should be).  Giving them a larger preview (and stopping at a key moment) gives them a no-cost way to give a book a whirl...if they get to the end of the preview, there is little chance (if we did our jobs as writers) to get them to buy.

    So instead of thinking about "us" (self) verses "them" traditional.  Why not work on getting Amazon to open this up more easily to KDP people?  I agree with you that we should both be able to do this with as much ease, but the fact that indies have to jump through hoops to do this seems to be more of a problem with Amazon then the publishers.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #16 on: July 17, 2013, 08:23:10 am »
    Congrats, Michael, but I agree with Julie. I really hate the "extended free preview" thingies. It's not actually a book, so shouldn't be treated as such in the "free books" rankings.

    There was a time when free were mixed in with paid. If Amazon wants to make a "free" preview category - and even better open that up to everyone...I'm all for that.  All I can say about free previews is whenever I have a book that has this as a choice - I make use of it as a reader - so I like them.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #17 on: July 17, 2013, 08:25:11 am »
    Have to agree with Julie. James Patterson has been doing this "free preview" and it gets ranked by Amazon. Seems to be for big publishers only.  ::)

    Anyone can do it...I did it for The Crown Conspiracy when it was self published - the problem is that Amazon doesn't make it EASY to do as you have to do  the whole "permafree by price matching trick."  I don't think the problem is with the publishers...the problem is with Amazon not allowing it to be done easily by indies through KDP.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Carradee

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2716
    • Gender: Female
    • Somewhere in the USA
    • Everyone's crazy somehow; some just hide it better
      • View Profile
      • Misti Wolanski
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #18 on: July 17, 2013, 08:36:19 am »
    Rant Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk.

    I am getting tired already of these quasi-products being promoted on Amazon as free books when they are just ads. The title of this thread is misleading. This isn't a free book. It's a sample disguised as a full product.

    Do indies REALLY want the free lists clogged up with trade publishing promoting half-books? None of us here are allowed to do this. yes, the book is labeled as a preview. But guess what? Insofar as visibility and ranking on Amazon, it is being treated as a normal book. It makes me a little sick to my stomach that a trade publishers can now eat up the top spots in the genre free rankings by offering excerpts, thus reducing the visibility of fully written indie books.

    This. Ever since I've gotten my e-reader, I've been annoyed by the "free previews". They clutter search results and make it more difficult to find what I'm looking for.

    The "win" situation would be for the publisher to be able to set the sample size, which some vendors offer. I can think of one author whose (major) publisher has posted previews of at least 40% of the book on their website for several of her bookswhich have always ended up with me being invested enough to go buy the e-book by the time I get to the end of it, even though the author isn't one of my favorites.

    Sorry, Michael, but I'm not impressed at all by this.
    Misti Wolanski (fantasy & nonfic) / Cara Lee (dystopia & cyberpunk) | website | blog

    Offline Monique

    • Status: Isaac Asimov-10018
    • ********
    • Posts: 11307
    • Gender: Female
    • California
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #19 on: July 17, 2013, 08:44:01 am »
    Rant Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk.

    I am getting tired already of these quasi-products being promoted on Amazon as free books when they are just ads. The title of this thread is misleading. This isn't a free book. It's a sample disguised as a full product.

    Do indies REALLY want the free lists clogged up with trade publishing promoting half-books? None of us here are allowed to do this. yes, the book is labeled as a preview. But guess what? Insofar as visibility and ranking on Amazon, it is being treated as a normal book. It makes me a little sick to my stomach that a trade publishers can now eat up the top spots in the genre free rankings by offering excerpts, thus reducing the visibility of fully written indie books.

    But you really know better than to pretend this is some "win" where trade publishing is borrowing from indies. It isn't.

    This. I hate these faux books and wish them into the cornfield. I wish Amazon would make it against TOS.

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #20 on: July 17, 2013, 08:44:23 am »
    The "win" situation would be for the publisher to be able to set the sample size, which some vendors offer. I can think of one author whose (major) publisher has posted previews of at least 40% of the book on their website for several of her bookswhich have always ended up with me being invested enough to go buy the e-book by the time I get to the end of it, even though the author isn't one of my favorites.

    I certainly wouldn't complain about the ability to control sample size. What venue allows for the publisher to change the size?  As far as I know Amazon is always at 10% or are you saying that publishers can set a higher threshold than DTP people can?  I'd be interested to know if that was the case.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle-10007
    • ****
    • Posts: 598
    • Gender: Male
    • Fairfax, VA
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #21 on: July 17, 2013, 08:47:24 am »
    This. I hate these faux books and wish them into the cornfield. I wish Amazon would make it against TOS.

    I guess my reading habits are in the minority as I take advantage of them whenever they are are available.  As I mentioned, in some cases it got me to buy and in others it got me not to - so there are pros and cons to making them available. 

    I have to wonder if the objections are merely form a "author" side - or a "reader" side - if a reader side then I might ask the publisher to remove it (which will be some amount of egg on my face as I wanted it in the first place since I did this when self-publishing, and as I said I use them as a reader.  I find the discussion very interesting.
    Wikipedia | Amazon | Twitter | Blog/Website |  Bundled Hollow World DRM-free ebooks with purchase of print or audio

    Offline Willo

    • Status: Jane Austen-10011
    • ***
    • Posts: 350
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #22 on: July 17, 2013, 09:16:30 am »
    Congrats, Michael, but I agree with Julie. I really hate the "extended free preview" thingies. It's not actually a book, so shouldn't be treated as such in the "free books" rankings.

    There was a time when free were mixed in with paid. If Amazon wants to make a "free" preview category - and even better open that up to everyone...I'm all for that.  All I can say about free previews is whenever I have a book that has this as a choice - I make use of it as a reader - so I like them.

    I tend to like free previews, as well, so I can't agree with the previous thoughts posted against them. It's not really any different to me than an author/publisher setting "Part 1" of a serial story free (which happens ALL the time and ends up in the free rankings). It's basically the same amount of pages (or twenty pages less, in the case of some of the hot romance serials that offer 30 pages for each part released). I don't see anything stopping indies from posting extended previews, as well, if we choose.

    As for thoughts about trads taking from indies, it winds up being a win for hybrid-authors, so I see where the OP is coming from with that. At the end of the day, we can be upset about this, or take it as another sign that indie innovations are successful, and trads are taking notice. Mimicry being the highest form of flattery and whatnot (forgive me if my paraphrasing is a bit off, I have not had my coffee yet).

    Offline Carradee

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke-10014
    • *****
    • Posts: 2716
    • Gender: Female
    • Somewhere in the USA
    • Everyone's crazy somehow; some just hide it better
      • View Profile
      • Misti Wolanski
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #23 on: July 17, 2013, 09:18:19 am »
    I certainly wouldn't complain about the ability to control sample size. What venue allows for the publisher to change the size?  As far as I know Amazon is always at 10% or are you saying that publishers can set a higher threshold than DTP people can?  I'd be interested to know if that was the case.

    As far as I know, Amazon is a set %. But some smaller vendors let the publisher set the excerpt size.

    Off the top of my head, Smashwords, Drive Thru Fiction, and Google Play let the publisher set the sample size. So do All Romance E-books/OmniLit and XinXii, though not in the same way.
    Misti Wolanski (fantasy & nonfic) / Cara Lee (dystopia & cyberpunk) | website | blog

    Offline cinisajoy

    • Status: Harvey Chute-10024
    • *********
    • Posts: 12722
    • Gender: Female
    • Texas
      • View Profile
    Re: Publishers catching onto the power of free?
    « Reply #24 on: July 17, 2013, 09:21:53 am »
    The link you gave is just the 5 free chapters.   But I got it anyway.
    https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

    Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***