Nothing in life is free.
In theory, that statement is true. Everything costs someone something, be it money, time, pride, whatever. Something always costs something. When it comes to books, free is a double-edged sword, for both readers and writers.
As a reader, I think free is awesome… most of the time. Who doesn’t love to snag a book for free? Sure, sometimes those books aren’t very good. Sometimes you start reading it and it just isn’t what you thought it would be. That’s okay. It was free. All it cost me was a little time. And those times when I read a book I got for free and it was amazing? Well, that makes all the crappy books worth the trouble. It’s even better when that book leads into a series that will suck me in and give me hours upon hours of entertainment.
Neil Gaiman (at least I’m pretty sure it was Mr Gaiman) once said that he found his favorite author from a free book. In fact, a lot of people discovered their favorite authors through free books of some sort. Whether it be on Amazon/iTunes, through a friend, or from the library, free books are everywhere. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was browse the shelves at the library. I discovered loads of new series there. I still remember the day I stumbled across the first books I read in the Star Wars expanded universe. I can even tell you where I found them. And now? I have boxes of Star Wars books. The same happened with the Dresden Files series, and Sookie Stackhouse, and so many more.
As an author? My goal is to provide that experience to others. That’s why for most of my series, I put the first book free. I don’t expect new readers to trust me and spend their hard earned money on books they’re not sure they’ll like. No matter what people say, free books sell books. They always have, and they always will. Because free is awesome. 🙂
Have you read any free books that pulled you into a series? What were they? Do you still read that author today?
On an unrelated note, I’ll be working on holiday cards in the next couple weeks. If I don’t have your address, but you’d like me to send you a card, make sure you get me your address by December 1st. Thanks!