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Stewart Hotston

Writing, Editing, Watching and Reading

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Free

Bookbub and Instafreebie – or how to get more free books

I don’t care what you read or how you read or when you read. I don’t care if you collect 1st edition hardbacks or are exclusively reading papyrus. However, I do care if you read.

For me it’s not about the quality of the material (although some of you know there are certain authors that will cause me to give you a look of pity or resignation but that’s only for discussion in person).

I wanted to talk about a couple of sites that I’ve used both as an author and a reader. They’re called Bookbub and Instafreebie. You probably know about them already, and if you do – apologies – I’m a recent convert/discoverer and they’re changing the way I read books.

I’ll grant you that there’s a decent amount of stuff you probably don’t want to read on each site BUT this is what I like about both sites – their potential for author discovery. By that I mean that the sites take your preferences and try to find authors that you’ll like. They’ll feed you offers for people you know and have read but they’ll also find you authors you haven’t read. It’s this last bit that works for me because I know the authors I like but, as with new music and film, it can be tremendously hard to figure out new authors who I might not have come across before. Combine that with the fact that these platforms typically showcase books at special offer rates (either discounted or completely free) and I find that I’m typically not taking much risk in trying out new authors.

It may not be for you. But hey, if you like reading, like new discovering new authors and can say what your preferences are these sites might be good for your totally under control crack reading habit.

Also, as someone pointed out, there are other sites like this, but these are the ones I’ve settled with – both as author and reader.

 

Tales of Wild Light

After a feverish day yesterday, this is now available for free for those of you who’ve signed up to the mailing list. It’ll be a few days before it hits amazon so not only are you getting it for free, but you’re getting it ahead of anyone else. I especially like the cover, which is by the amazing John Haynes.

To get a free copy, use this link and go have some fun.

These stories have been collected over a number of years – ones that I love but which were written almost exclusively for my own pleasure. Except for Farm Boy – that was written for a friend who wanted to see Destiny get kicked on the pods. That one’s for Ian Belcher.

I hope you enjoy these!

Cheers for all your support and here’s to many more stories in the future

Stew

The price of free

I decided last week in discussions with Matt at AR, that we should put the kindle version of my debut novel up for free at Amazon for 72 hours. That 72 hours runs out tonight. This post is about what’s happened and my feelings about it.

The first consideration was this: lots of people, including a not inconsiderable number of friends, have stumped up proper money for either a physical or ebook copy of A Family War. A decent number of those have then gone on to post very kind and honest reviews about the story they experienced.

I have been really concerned that they’ll feel a little bit cheated that the book has gone for free for a short period. I worry that it might put them off buying anything more of mine in the future because they’ll think ‘I can get it free later on anyway’.

I also worry because they’ve bought the fricking thing, have been supportive and have given me great feedback.

However, at the same time, I’m a fledgling author who’s is trying to establish an audience not just for this novel but for its sequel and all the other ideas that are trapped in my skull screaming to get out. I want this book to get to as many people as possible and create that market that an unknown author like me simply doesn’t have through the machinations of a massive marketing department.

So we come to the event itself – the book has been free since Saturday morning. In that time at least 2,000 downloads have occurred – definitely more as I’m still waiting for today’s numbers to come in. I have NO IDEA how people have found it, I have NO IDEA how it’s got to where it is in the charts – #1 in US Sci Fi, #1 in US Sapce Opera, #111 on the whole kindle store while in the UK it’s been #4 or 6 in the same categories.

I truly don’t understand how people found it at that point or how it’s propelled itself up the charts among other authors who’ve written lots of novels and have well oiled marketing programs. I’ll be trying to figure that out in the coming days with Matt as getting this kind of attention was exactly the kind of outcome I was dreaming of (even though not expecting in any way). It’s something to learn from, to understand and then to figure out how to make it work for me when book 2 comes out.

At the same time, I’m waiting to see if any more reviews pop along, if people continue to buy it when it returns to the heady heights of two bucks a copy and if this does actually help build an audience over time.

I’m an author – loving writing. However, I’m also an author who wants to get his work out there, selling for real money preferably, but also who has just enough self belief to think my work is, on a good day, worth reading. So I wrestle with the idea of creating something and then having to think about how to present it in the best way over time (and by time I mean weeks and months) in order that my secondary wish of getting it in the hands of as many people as possible bears fruit.

The free offer has paid dividends in terms of getting my work out there to literally thousands of people. I have been really tempted to make it permanently free, to ride this wave of people downloading the story to see how far it will take me – the heart gibbers madly, saying thousands could become tens of thousands or even more. Yet I’m listening to those around me who have advised ending the promotion as planned and seeing what happens…Part of me thinks it’s about momentum and that it should stay free, but in the end the argument that it’s actually worth something wins out. We’ll see if readers agree.

Free is tough. I love the people who spent their own money to buy a copy, (I don’t see book 2 ever being free). I truly hope they’ll stick with me as I continue to write and hopefully get published. However, I also really hope that as more people find my work, as some of them even like it, that they will, in future, also think it’s worth paying out their money too!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate anyone who takes the time to try my writing out – trust me I’m humbled that among all the choice out there, you’ve taken the time to pick my stuff up. But I’m trying to figure out how to make this all work and how to ensure that Matt as Alternative Realities thinks it’s worth publishing the next one I send to him.

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