Monday, June 06, 2016

Permafree

Whenever I have a chance to bend Amazon's ear, I make a few pitches. The top three always are:
  • I'd like to see cumulative sales figures, for both units and royalties, in KDP and Author Central reports.
  • I'd like to be able to automatically split royalties with co-writers.
  • I'd like the ability to make ebooks permafree.
Currently, it's a PITA to make a book permafree on Amazon. You have to make the ebook free on some other website, then keep alerting Amazon about those competitive prices by cutting and pasting URLs into the "tell us about a lower price" link:


It can take weeks for Amazon to price-match and make a title permafree. It's irritating, especially since I'm doing it for the benefit of Amazon customers and my own fans. (More on that in a moment.)

I understand that Countdown Deals are part of the reward for KU exclusivity, and those 5 day freebie slots are valuable. But thousands of authors are bypassing this already by using Draft 2 Digital and Smashwords to make freebies on Amazon's competitors.

Note to Amazon: That's self-defeating. If I want to make an ebook permanently free on Amazon.com, I also have to post free ebooks on Kobo, iTunes, Nook, etc. How does that benefit Amazon at all when I allow your competition to get my free titles?

Here's a suggestion: Allow KU unlimited titles the option of being free for a full year, provided they are free only on Amazon.com. The books are going to be free anyway, but this way, Amazon has exclusivity for those freebies.

I have only used permafree twice, and I've published over 60 titles on KDP.


I blogged in detail about this HERE.

I only give away about ten copies a day of this title. But the people who download it are fans and potential fans who want an easy checklist of all my book titles. Win for me, win for readers, win for Amazon.

So why did I have to upload it to six other ebook retailers and then send Amazon price-match alerts several times a day for two weeks in order to make it free?

The second permafree I've done is recent. I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the tenth Jack Daniels thriller, LAST CALL, and it ties into an old short story I wrote called THE AGREEMENT.

Why not give away THE AGREEMENT as an extra to people who read LAST CALL? Doesn't that seem like a fun extra?

What I once would have done is add it as bonus content to the end of the novel. But then readers could get irritated, because the book ends at 95% completion when they they were expecting more. So instead, I wanted to put a link in the book, giving them the option of reading the aforementioned story for free. 

Which meant jumping through hoops again just to give my fans something extra.


I decided to use it as a promo item as well, so it includes an excerpt from LAST CALL, if any readers want to get a sneak peak.

Now, if that was all there is to this story, I'd just suck it up and not whine in public. But, unfortunately, these two freebies are only available to Amazon US readers, because I haven't been able to make them free on Amazon stores in the UK, Canada, etc.

That's really not fair to my fans in other countries. It's like giving some of your children extra dessert, and telling the others to sod off. (See? I used a UKphemism! Why can't they get these titles free?!?)

What do you writers think? Do you want to be able to make titles permafree on Amazon? 

Let me hear from you in the comments.