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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Perusing the virtual shelves on AMZN's top 100 just now.  Saw David Baldacci's The Hit ranked 38th @ $12.74.  Kept going and saw the same book as 77th FREE.  But, it was listed as "FREE PREVIEW - First 8 chapters".  Interesting idea...but then again, can't you sample books for Free??  First 20% or so?  Anyone ever try this?
 

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James Patterson. It pisses his fans off like crazy. He has some books where the first part of it is free and if you want to see how it ends, you have to buy it then. Marketing wise, seems less risky for readers, but they didnt seem to like it.
 

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holly w. said:
James Patterson. It pisses his fans off like crazy. He has some books where the first part of it is free and if you want to see how it ends, you have to buy it then. Marketing wise, seems less risky for readers, but they didnt seem to like it.
Sounds like a win-win situation for readers and Patterson to me. What am I missing?
 

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holly w. said:
James Patterson. It pisses his fans off like crazy. He has some books where the first part of it is free and if you want to see how it ends, you have to buy it then. Marketing wise, seems less risky for readers, but they didnt seem to like it.
This approach is inviting a plague of spoiler reviews.
 

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I had a friend who if he catches the first few seconds of a television show he HAS to watch it until the end, even if he wasn't enjoying it. I suspect some people are OCD to the point where if they start reading a book they have to finish it, and offering a good potion free upfront would almost force them to buy it.

Personally I wish the first half of every book were free. I would be more than happy to pay for the ones I enjoyed and drop the ones I wasn't attached to.
 

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Sam Kates said:
Speaking purely as a reader, I don't like such gimmicky marketing. Makes me feel like I'm being manipulated.
Definitely agree. I don't like it when authors use "tricks" to get more sales. I'd rather a straight forward price, as a reader.
 

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I've noticed more than one example of a first chapter or two free and the full book paid (Amazon does not have a policy against it, Smashwords does) --I guess it works to attract people who are attracted to lists of free books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ChadMck said:
Personally I wish the first half of every book were free. I would be more than happy to pay for the ones I enjoyed and drop the ones I wasn't attached to.
That's a good point, Chad. Since you're getting 1/2 of that book for free, would you be willing to pay twice the amount for the rest of the books you liked? Ex. Book costs $4.99 but you're getting 1/2 free, would you still pay $4.99 if you like it?

(BTW, if you're a Philly guy, PM me)
 

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If you sample Reprobate on Amazon, you get THE FIRST FOUR CHAPTERS FREE!!!!

No, really. 10% of the book is in the sample. If you're not hooked after the first four chapters, I doubt if reading the chapters five to twenty-five is getting you to buy the remaining twenty-five chapters for 3.99.

Of course, I'm also serialising Reprobate on WattPad, so you can read it there for free...

I think publishing the first chapters for free is like those apps that offer fifty levels, and you download them and only the first three levels are free and the rest is in-app purchase...
 

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James Patterson. It pisses his fans off like crazy. He has some books where the first part of it is free and if you want to see how it ends, you have to buy it then. Marketing wise, seems less risky for readers, but they didnt seem to like it.
Oh, I don't know...Alex Cross, Run by him has the first 19 chapters free. That free book has 188 reviews. 125 are 5 star. 44 are 4 star. Only 3 are 1 star. Seems people liked it pretty darn well.
http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Preview-First-Chapters-ebook/dp/B00A6ICOWS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1362837886&sr=1-1&keywords=james+patterson

Look, it SAYS "FREE PRVIEW". If readers don't want to read the free preview, why do they have to feel obligated to download and then bitch that he gave them a free preview? Seriously, I could see why it would p*ss off readers if they didn't know it wasn't a complete book, but when it says exactly what it is, I think it is a great marketing tool. Either people want to download it or they don't. There is no trickery here.

If you write a series and every book is long, AND you want to charge a fair price for each novel, this is a great way for people to really get a feel for your writing style and the storyline. I know one author on here who is doing this and seeing some success. I'm thinking about it.

For example, my first Gastien book is about 148,000 words. I have toyed with the idea of doing the first 60,000 free. How is that "ripping people off" or "tricking them" if I call it a FREE sample? Wouldn't if be more of a considerate offering, since people will be inversting time and money in a series? If they think the book might be interesting, aren't I savng them $4.99 by letting them read the first 60,000 if they don't like my writing or the story? I would say it puts me at a bigger disadvantage than the reader. They have to invest nothing for 60,000 words. If they DO like it (and I'm betting they will, if I do this) then they will also feel it is actually worth paying $4.99 for. Much less than a good beer or a movie ticket. By doing it, I would be saying "I think my work is worth at least what I charge, and I'm willing to risk you reading almost half the first book to prove it." I don't know that I will do it because of the changes with free books now, but I can see it has value.

It's no more manipulative than making the first book of a series permafree, hoping to hook readers into buying the rest. It's called marketing, not deception. No one puts a gun to readers heads to download a free sample or a free book.

And, yeah, if I liked the free sample of a book enough, I would pay full price to finish the book. Some readers will always bitch no matter what an author does. As we've all said before, you can't please everyone. I think the secret to this is saying it is a sample.
 

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Caddy said:
For example, my first Gastien book is about 148,000 words. I have toyed with the idea of doing the first 60,000 free. How is that "ripping people off" or "tricking them" if I call it a FREE sample?
...
And, yeah, if I liked the free sample of a book enough, I would pay full price to finish the book. Some readers will always bitch no matter what an author does. As we've all said before, you can't please everyone. I think the secret to this is saying it is a sample.
Amazon already posts 10% of your book as a 'free sample' on Amazon, and iTunes does something like 5-8%, which, in your case, would be some 10,000-15,000 words. Why put out a 60,000 'free sample'? Either your 10,000 Amazon generated sample is convincing or not, but if someone wouldn't be swayed by 10K, why would they be swayed by 60K? Most of the time I know if a book is worth my time in the first few pages/first chapter.
 

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Chapter Twenty-three

Jack turned as the door opened, revealing the killer.

"So, it was you all along," he said.

The killer smiled and leveled a gun at Jack's chest.

[END OF SAMPLE. To receive the last two hundred words, buy the damn book.]
 

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SEAN H. ROBERTSON said:
Sounds like a win-win situation for readers and Patterson to me. What am I missing?
Makes it a lot harder to find the book you're actually trying to buy when you're navigating the store on your non-tablet e-reader.

I find it really annoying, as a reader. (Some of the YA authors I follow have this sort of thing.)
 

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Amazon already posts 10% of your book as a 'free sample' on Amazon, and iTunes does something like 5-8%, which, in your case, would be some 10,000-15,000 words. Why put out a 60,000 'free sample'? Either your 10,000 Amazon generated sample is convincing or not, but if someone wouldn't be swayed by 10K, why would they be swayed by 60K? Most of the time I know if a book is worth my time in the first few pages/first chapter.

Then the same could be said about offering the first book free in a series. 60,000 is more than convincing them it might be good. It is a gamble that they will find they love the story and are invested in it, when perhaps they are hesitating because it isn't a .99 book, it is long, and it is a series. And, since they knew when they downloaded it that they were not getting the whole first book, there's nothing deceptive about it.

Anyway, still not convinced I am going to do it, but I do have to say I would LOVE so many people to "hate my doing long free book sample" that 188 leave reviews and 125 are 5 star. 44 are 4 star. Just sayin'.
 

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Jan Strnad said:
Chapter Twenty-three

Jack turned as the door opened, revealing the killer.

"So, it was you all along," he said.

The killer smiled and leveled a gun at Jack's chest.

[END OF SAMPLE. To receive the last two hundred words, buy the d*mn book.]
Let me fill it in for ya... POP!, BANG!

;D
 

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Speaking for myself only, if a book looks like I would be interested I download the sample. I would say that I but about 70% of those sampled. I have reached the point where reviews are not as reliable as they used to be. YMMV.
 
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