It’s true. Driven by my insatiable desire to keep a roof over my head, I’m cutting back on my free-download offerings. Starting this week, I’m shifting my website to samples and purchase links for the Chaos books, and the same with Eternity’s End. I’ve already got my own Starstream Publications editions of the first three Chaos books—with new afterwords—for sale in all of the major stores for a very low price (Eternity’s End coming soon). But even a very low price isn’t competing well with free.
I’ve been running the free-downloads experiment for more than two years now. Here’s my conclusion: The free downloads have significantly expanded my audience, and enabled me to meet some very nice people electronically. But they haven’t done much in terms of pay. Yes, some people have been generous with Paypal donations, and some who liked the books have gone out and bought my other ebooks—and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. But the theory that free downloads drive sales of books, which apparently works for some writers, does not seem to have clicked for me. I don’t regret offering the downloads—not a bit—but now it’s time to try something new.
I’m asking all other sites that host my free downloads to remove all except Neptune Crossing. (I’ll still let them offer that first hit for free, heh-heh.) I’ll provide big enough samples of all the books for new readers to give them a good, fair try—not like those weenie samples you get at a lot of stores, where most of the sample is ^%$@ front-matter, not the actual book.
And I’ll keep the prices low.
With the holidays coming, I’ll be offering some specials. But one thing at a time. I’m posting this right now as last call for alcoh—errr, free books!
(Note: Short stories and Battlestar Galactica will remain free in some ebook formats.)