You can read BJ's post here.
To summarize, she noted that the e-book phenomenon has bred free spinoffs, often of the prequel variety, that authors will publish in order to publicize an upcoming book. Effective freebies are self-contained and whet our appetite for more, while poor freebies seem truncated or stagnant and can be sloppily edited.
As followers of this blog will know, I've used this technique to spread the word about Blood Passage, the first Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel. I've published six free short stories featuring Donaghue and Stainer so far that can be found here. Others will follow this fall and winter until the collection is complete. The idea is to eliminate cost barriers and give readers a chance to become familiar with the characters and my writing style. Hopefully those who enjoy police procedurals and like the stories will take a shot at the novel, which is now only $0.99. (End commercial.)
Here's the thing: I'd like your opinion on the effectiveness of this approach as a marketing technique. Each story tends to attract the same number of downloaders. I'm assuming/guessing/hoping that people are collecting all the stories as they appear. At the same time, I'm aware that Smashwords has a reputation for being a place to trawl for freebies but not a place where people tend to spend money. So here are a couple of questions:
- do readers of e-books who download free offerings tend to be willing to pay a buck or two for the primary product if they like the freebie, or do they tend just to graze on the freebies?
- if you're a downloader of freebies, how long do they tend to sit in your reader before you get around to reading them (ie, how long should I wait before I decide this strategy doesn't work)?