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Discussion Starter #1
Let's assume you've written a good novel (define "good" however you like). Assume it's a stand-alone novel, not a series starter. We're not talking about making money here, just about how to get people to read the book.

If you gave the novel away for free, would it find readers?

Would pirates get it into readers' hands?

Would open sourcing it work (Creative Commons licensing) ?

Does free e-publishing ever work?

Can you imagine any strategy or scenario in which you could leverage free to find readers?

Thank you for your thoughts.
 

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For a stand alone...that is a huge gamble and would ultimately fail. The only potential way is to give it away for a signup to your newsletter...atleast you would know who they are.

You eventually would still have to market your second and spend something.

Mark
 

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Unless you're already famous, Stand Alone is a difficult nut to crack and make money in this Indie market today.  It would take lots of bucks and lots of advertising unless you happen to get extremely lucky and hit some kind of viral sharing page. We know not where to find those, or even if it exists.

The best case for freebies that will turn into revenue - write a series, and once you're at three or four or five, post the first one as a freebie, and hope you entice readers to buy the others.

KindleUnlimited Freebie market is probably best place to get traction for a new author if you choose Free. You still earn a fee, and those readers that seek freebies (altho KU readers pay a monthly fee) have a gazillion to choose from, but is no less competitive than a Stand Alone book finding a reader audience.
 
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I've built most of my social media following on giving away ebooks (not all the time but with occasional free days) and posting lots of images that fit my brand. 

Anything CAN work, but I think it depends on how much you promote the book.  Even free promotions can take a lot of time.  Best of luck with whatever you decide!  :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the good advice here. Sounds like the consensus is that free in itself doesn't lure in readers, and that its main use would be as a lead-in to build a mailing list, or as the first novel of a series.
 
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