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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since Ain't No Sunshine has been free on Amazon two weeks ago, it has been downloaded almost 43k times. Can I count those as sales? Or do I just have to say 43k downloads?
 

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If you give the book away (that is hand it over as a gift or for charity or to a friend or throwing them into open windows of passing cars), it doesn't count, because it wasn't selected by any criteria. However, any book that has been TRANSACTED through a sales channel, regardless of price or royalty, is a sale, as it was selected by a set of criteria and it is counted as a transaction by the distributor - that includes Smashwords and their coupon promotions, because they are selected transactions. Many naysayers will tell you a sales = cash transaction, but I was a director of maketing for over 30 years and a transaction has value to both parties. It's like saying all those barter transactions in the Chinese marketplace are not sales because no money exchanged hands. But even there the transactions are carefully tallied. Your free transactions will beget you $ transactions, reviews also and readers - and to an author, readers are the true gold. You can keep your $ .35 IMHO. And the naysayers just want their cake and eat it.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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I think Ed makes some good points. I never thought about it in that way. I still don't consider freebies as sales, though. Call them whatever you want, just don't call them sales.

But, in my opinion, an author who is giving away freebies should be doing it for a reason that is part of a larger goal. So the free item should be measured in metrics, other than the "sales" of that item, which produces a result that works toward the goal. If the freebie is capable of doing that, then it's worth doing. If it does not, then the author/publisher needs another plan.
 
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Sybil Nelson said:
Since Ain't No Sunshine has been free on Amazon two weeks ago, it has been downloaded almost 43k times. Can I count those as sales? Or do I just have to say 43k downloads?
If I stood on a street corner giving hard covers to everyone I knew, do you think that'd count as a sale? Or how about if I wrote up an agent saying I'd "sold" fifty thousand copies of a novel, only for them to find out every single dang one was for free? You think they'd take me seriously? I am grateful for every reader who gives me their time to read my novel, but I'm not going to pretend they gave me money, nor use it to inflate actual sales numbers. Let's face it: freebie sales are easy to get once Amazon makes it happen. Quality has very, very, very little to do with those sales, because I've seen what the freebie devourers are like (my wife is one). If it's a freebie, 99% of the time, it's downloaded the second one of the many websites devoted to freebies throws it up on the front page.

Simply put: when everyone reads sales, they think paid sales, so the second you try to include freebies in regular sales you'll come across as dishonest, naive, or deceptive. Tell me you sold 20,000 books at $2.99? I'll be impressed. Tell me you had 20k freebie downloads? Congratz, you made your book free on B&N and Amazon noticed. Both are useful. Both can be leveraged into greater sales, exposure, reviews, etc. But they're not the same thing, and I think you know that, Sybil, or you wouldn't have asked in the first place.
 

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Half-Orc said:
Simply put: when everyone reads sales, they think paid sales, so the second you try to include freebies in regular sales you'll come across as dishonest, naive, or deceptive. Tell me you sold 20,000 books at $2.99? I'll be impressed. Tell me you had 20k freebie downloads? Congratz, you made your book free on B&N and Amazon noticed. Both are useful. Both can be leveraged into greater sales, exposure, reviews, etc.
I agree with this.

Between Smashwords and Barnes and Noble, I have almost 60,000 free downloads. If I told people those were sales, it would be misleading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input. I think I'll just keep saying downloads. It's still totally worth it in my opinion. I'm getting lots of reviews and my sales for my other books have gone up.
 

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modwitch said:
I think that how you count them is entirely personal.
Bravo. I track everthing if its in a reader's hands. If it didn;t come through a "transaction", I count them in a seperate bucket, and don;t include them in the numbers in circulation. I also do not include my Operation eBook Drop transactions (I track them), but those are "puses" out to the troops and not "takes" from the vast readership pool. It's really a matter of whether an author is more into sheckles than readers - as for the honesty factor, it doesn't wash. There's nothing wrong with making money at this - many do. I like paying my electric bill every month with a trickle of coinage that comes my way. But as an author who offered his books for free for years with NO takers, when a reader comes to my door - even with cash in hand, they can put their wallet away. Personally, it doesn;t matter to me. Going back to your point, it's entirely personal.

Edward C. Patterson
 
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