It is far too early to work out if it’was successful or not but last weekend I decided to give away my A Simpler Guide to Gmail, Second Edition book for free for one day only.
As you might have already guessed A Simpler Guide to Gmail is a non-fiction book about of all things, Gmail, not a romantic story set in 1920s New York (although it could be a great time travel tale given enough time and plot!) I’ve come to the conclusion that giveing away non-fiction books may not be the best idea.
As I mentioned it is too early to make a decision whether it is a success but I did give away hundreds of books on Saturday. So much so that I bottled out around midnight UK time and cancelled the rest of the 24 hour promotion.
Now I’ve taken part in giveaways before, the last one was with Fantasy Island Book Publishing for my Children of the Elementi book. The value of giving away books on Amazon is that your customerscan lend those books to their friends using the Amazon system. Of course at the moment this is only true for the US but it will expand in time to other countries.
The market for non-fiction is smaller. That is why traditionally the books are more expensive. You wouldn’t begrudge someone a living from their talents would you? I would agree that non-fiction is not necessarily easier or harder to write. After all fiction book are all in the inagination, but historical novels do need a certain amount of research. Still the market is smaller.
Another thing I did not take into account inmy great experiment is that it appears normally, the freebies available are not all full-blown books. I didn’t realise this but a Saturday of downloading lots of books revealed that most of the books were teasers or promotional material for services. Oops. I gave away the Full Monty, the Real McCoy (too many cliches?) – the complete book. I seemed to have missed a trick there!
My only hope is that people who have downloaded it find it useful enough that they will think to review it or at least tag it. If receiving is not on their minds, my sevond hope is that they lend it to their froends – before April when I take it off the Kindle Select program. Gmail was my biggest seller on Barnes and Noble and you could argue that I was putting all my eggs into one basket by only selling it on Amazon.
I’ve had a few problems moving from one edition of my Gmail book to another. I didn’t want to delete the other one as it sold well and was highly ranked. I would have to start from scratch. I tried putting a message in the original book to people who already bought it offering them the new one. I was expecting them to refund the book and get the new one. Turns out they weren’t getting the changes!
The reason I didn’t want to keep the old edition because the name was wrong (my maiden name instead of married name) on the customer facing details. It was fine on the KDP admin side and I had contacted Amazon a few times, it seememd sorted but would revert after a while.
Anyway, turns out if you have made changes and republish your ebook, you need to send an email to Amazon asking them to send the new file to your customers.
Here’s an extract from the Amazon website explaining further. Customers can also request a later version of the same book to be sent to them.
3-16 Do I have to re-buy or re-upload my book to get the updated copy I re-published? If you’ve already purchased your book and subsequently revise the content and re-publish the updated version, you don’t need to re-purchase the book to get a copy. At this time, it’s not possible for publishers to receive the updated file without contacting KDP Support for help. We’re working to automate this feature and appreciate your understanding with our existing solution to manually send the updated content to your device.
We request your explicit permission, and will do the same for any customers who contact us to receive the updated content, prior to sending the revised file because the new version will not have previously saved Highlights, Last Page Read, Bookmarks, and the location of notes may not match. If this is acceptable, please email [email protected] confirming your permission and which title/s you’d like to have re-sent. Thank you.
Note: Customers who purchased the old content can also contact our Customer Service department to have the new file delivered.