intense sensations

Free books don’t come cheap

Posted on: January 28, 2012

Just because something is free, it doesn’t mean it’s no good. I have downloaded many free books from Amazon, mainly self-published works for the Kindle. The quality is very variable but that means that some of them have been really, really good. I review the better ones on this blog. I don’t usually say which ones were free as it’s not fair to the author. Some people do have a prejudice, I know. We all do, probably.

I thought for a very long time before making one of my books free on the Kindle. In the end, I chose Lust in Leather, which I’ve only just published. It was one of those situations, so common in my life, where I thought for months about option A and option B, and didn’t really like either of them so then I did option C totally on impulse.

The reason I hesitated to make something free was that I knew it was potentially going to be read by a much wider audience. An unsympathetic audience. An audience that didn’t care. This made me nervous.

The reason you make something free, of course, is for promotional reasons. You can gather new readers. You can widen your exposure. You can boast that your book rocketed to the number 1 slot on the Amazon chart for Kindle/Fiction/Erotica/Asian/Chinese/Leather Fetish/set it Nottingham and featuring Faye Wong.

But the fact that your book is your advert means that it has to be the best you can make it. Many authors fail because their free book is sloppy and full of mistakes. Probably mine has mistakes too, I don’t know. Obviously, I tried to catch them all before I published it.

When I was alerted to the fact that my book had become free (it is difficult to control the timing precisely) I was out at the shops, so I rushed to read a copy on my iPhone just to check everything was OK. Too late if it wasn’t. I was nervous as hell. I stood in the busy make-up department at Selfridges surrounded by seductive scents and pressed on all sides by women on a mission. It was the perfect environment for reading the story. I was captivated and couldn’t stop. Oh my God, I’m aroused by own story, I thought. Is this like laughing at your own jokes? And in public too!

But what I wanted to say was that, although it’s free, it didn’t come easy. It took me months to write and the cover alone went through 5 versions before I approved it. And the story, though it features explicit sexual imagery, is about being a woman and the tough decisions we sometimes face in life, in business and in romance. Like when to give something away.

Lust in Leather will be free to download on Amazon in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France until the end of January. I’m delighted to see that I now have some German and French readers, who have gone beyond lust in leather and are trying some of my other books too.

Here’s where you can find Lust in Leather on:


8 Responses to "Free books don’t come cheap"

Totally agree with you – there is such a disparity between good books and not so good books, whether they are free or not. ‘FREE’ certainly does not mean that they are ‘cheap and nasty’. I’ve read some really good free books and some not so good ones, but they all come from months/years of hard grind by the authors.

So pleased to hear that you’ve got fans in other parts of Europe – great achievement! Hope your promotion will get you more of them!

Thank you for your kind words, Junying.

You should make sure to have an obvious link to the book you’re selling! I found this post through Twitter, but to find your book, I had to go to, search your name and book under kindle, and then click on it – remove these simple barriers from consumers whenever you can.

That way, too, you can check to see how many people are clicking the outgoing link to your book!

All the best. I’ll try to give it a read soon 🙂

Thank you for the advice, Anjasa. I have added some links. I know I should do all these things but it’s so hard! I have friends coming and I’m busy polishing my bath. You see, I thought I’d done so well to get a message out on Twitter!

I think you have done right by offering this book for free. As you said, it’s for promotion and to gain a wider readership. I made A Place In This Life free on Smashwords for one weekend and saw considerable activity. Of course, there is the concern about errors and blips… we want to put our best work out there. I am sure Lust is perfect (in fact I downloaded it and have the story cued to read!).

Thanks, Julie! I hope you enjoy the story!

I like your article! So true, and I have downloaded your book to sample. If I like it I will certainly buy your other works and spread the word, so keep on promoting and well done.

Thanks for your support, Catherine, and especially the kind word on Twitter.

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Books by Vanessa Wu

Lure of the Feminine

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