Free: How’s That Working for Ya?

front-cover-perspective300x420Just fine, thank you very much.

Best Beloved finally had time to put on her accountant hat this week and gave me numbers about book sales this year.

The numbers themselves are small. It’s sad, but I’ll get over it.

Here’s the wildly unexpected part: sales of Through the Fog, which I give away free just for signing up for my fiction newsletter, are the highest of all my books, and higher than they’ve ever been for this book.

That’s right: I’ve given away lots of free copies, and during the same time period sold 15 print copies and 45 digital copies.

The print copies, I get. Love a book, want a souvenir. My readers lean toward print, as do I.

But all those people willing to shell out for the digital version they could have had free?

Maybe some missed the newsletter signup thing. Maybe some don’t even visit my site, just bought it at Amazon ’cause it’s cheap.

Whatever the reason, I’m making money on a book I give away.

Free. What a concept.

4 thoughts on “Free: How’s That Working for Ya?

  1. Interesting outcome of your experiment, Joel. It’s so hard for some authors to grasp that “free” doesn’t cheapen the value of their work — it can increase it.

    Big publishing can’t get behind it, partly because their model depends on squeezing every penny out of every book, partly because an author with Big Marketing behind her doesn’t need the introduction of “free.”

    Anyway, I posted about this on my site at

  2. I’ve probably written two dozen posts about “free” as a marketing strategy. I feel strongly that generosity is my best marketing tool, and that letting folks sample my work is the best way to find and connect with fans.

    Thanks for speaking up, Jan!

  3. This is great, Joel. (I always say the same thing, sorry…)

    I just laugh and laugh when I read your voice!

  4. Hey, if your repeated comment was angry and negative, I’d get tired of it.

    But, “This is great” ? You just keep popping by and saying it over and over.

    And over and over. Copy and paste, if you like.

    I know you mean it, Lynelle. And you’re one of the people I have in my head when I write. You’re good people and I’m glad we’ve gotten to know you and yours.

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