I am often asked the same question time and time again,
"Donnie, why don't you ever offer your books for free?"
The short answer to that question is because I don't want every idiot in the world reading my work, but the longer answer is much more complicated than you might think.
Many people are scratching their head right now and wondering why an author wouldn't want as many readers as possible to read thier material. And truth be told, yes, I do want as many engaged readers to read my content as I can get. I would love for them to offer an opinion on my material in the form of a written review as well. Engaged readers matter more to me than having 1,000 people download my book for free and not appreciating the work.
There are several reasons that I adopted this marketing strategy, the first being that it gets terribly expensive trying to get your name out in the great big world. However, I will list some of my other issues with the concept of "free readers" now as well.
1) Everyone that downloads your "free" book will not read it. Free readers download the book to their Kindle app or Kindle reader and never read a single page of the content that you spent hours and hours putting together. That's a big waste of time and marketing dollars if no one actually reads the book.
2) The "free reader" never leaves reviews either. Because they are not engaged in the material, or your story, the free reader doesn't leave a review about the book. Most likely because they didn't read the darn thing to start with. Most authors want reviews (yes, even bad ones). A review indicates that people cared enough about the work to spend a small amount of their personal time writing about the reading experience for others. A free reader doesn't care about your book because they never paid for it and probably never read it either.
3) They never turn into buying customers. Over the course of several years, I have given away hundreds of books to people. No, please don't ask me about this, but I do have a "free promotion" out there from time to time. A free reader never ends up buying anything else I have done either. I have never given away a free book and seen any increase in the number of books sold within a two week time frame afterward.
That leads me to the topic at hand; why I want your 99 cents. The short answer is because by paying any amount of money, even something as inconsequential as 99 cents, that makes you an actual customer of mine. You now have some skin in the game. If you like how I write and find it helpful or entertaining, then you might consider spending a couple more dollars on my other content. That would be awesome. But if you don't like what you read, then you aren't out a lot of money. It's kind of like a test run of sorts between me and the reader.
For any new author, I would recommend taking a small piece of your content and turning it into an introductory guide. That's what I did with Good Debt Bad Debt and The Quick Start Credit Repair Guide. It lets the reader take a chance on me for just 99 cents, and it lets the author break down some of their hard work into small, individual works that people can get to know you by. In my opinion, handling things this way makes for a better reader/author relationship. Plus, all the reviews you get will be verified purchases, since they actually had to buy the content.