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I was thinking of the time that I was working at one of those little art and home shows. One of the ladies was selling honey. In my life, I had only ever had store-bought honey. I didn't like it, and before that day had only had it a time or two. I didn't want to be rude or hurt her feelings, so I tried it. Turns out, store-bought honey and raw honey are 1000% different. She made a sale that day, and I continued buying from her until a bear wiped out her hives, and I had to find someone else to source honey. It was a 'like' I didn't even know I had, but the barrier had to be lower than zero for me to try it.

I think you're right that most people downloading free ebooks are probably focused soley on freebies. But there is a chance you'll get that person who was just trying you out and realized they liked what you were selling.

Funny...I just noticed this post was started in 2011. I guess my sort is off ;)
 

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The fact that this post is a decade old and the OP was downing free books then and yet people are still buying books YEARS later, proves what has always been true. Many who get free books also buy books. If not, then permafrees (where the first book in a series is free to get sales for the rest of the series) would be useless and they are one of the best promo strategies there is. Also, I speak from experience being someone who downloads tons of freebies yet still buy books. I also offer several freebies and have gotten many sales and new readers because of it. How do I know? Because they go on to read my series or my entire catalog and they often write me or mention in reviews that they found me based off a freebie. I don't know why authors get so much hate for using free when companies have been doing it since the beginning of time. Anyone who knows anything about selling knows that the loss leader (offering something free) is Marketing 101 and has been used for centuries because it works. Also, it is completely misguided thinking just because there are free books in the world that no one will ever buy books again. Really? Yet, for some odd reason, with ALL these free books available, people are STILL buying books. Imagine that.

Also, I remember this OP. He always complained about his lack of sales and seemed to blame it on everyone but himself. In fact, every time someone is on their soapbox about "free killing book sales" it's someone whose sales are horrible and they wanna find a cause for why folks aren't buying their books. Well, I have freebies myself and I have no issue selling books. If your books aren't selling maybe look at the books first before blaming millions of authors who use free.
 

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I can see how a lot of free books might rankle someone who's having tough sales. It's human nature. Some have bemoaned KU here in the past as a form of 'free books', driving prices downwards, and affecting their sales somehow.

As said above, the concept of the Loss Leader (as well as the bargain) has been around a long, long time, for a reason.
 

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90 percent of what you attract by giving stuff away are people looking only for free stuff. Not YOUR stuff; ANY free stuff.

If you want to attract LOYAL FANS, rather than random people who will download any freebie, then try competing on the basis of something other than price.

Try working on your writing craft, first of all: Many great books by little-known writers are succeeding solely by word of mouth. Then, do what you can to surround it with good "cosmetics." Save a bit of money and invest in a great cover. Craft sizzling promo copy for Amazon and other online sales venues. If your advance and early readers like it, encourage them to write reader reviews (if they DON'T, then perhaps you should go back and work on your writing, eh?). Devote just one hour per day seeking out promotional opportunities.

But don't train your readers to expect your books for free. If you do that, they will NEVER buy anything from you, and you will NEVER turn your writing into a paying career.
Brilliantly put, Robert. I didn't have any success until I priced my books at 8.99 - 9.99 and started advertising to real book buyers (yes this costs money), and no more email blasts. If you stand on the corner and offer free lemonade, you'll just get people who want free lemonade. If you advertise $10 premium lemonade, you'll get paying customers. (and 99c deals don't really cultivate a ton a buyers either, unless ALL your books are 99c), but a few here will claim a modicum of success with a buck deal.
 
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