Free E-Book

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First the news, then the analysis. Sourcebooks has changed the price of the Kindle and Nook editions of Wickedly Charming to free for just this week. (Sale ends 10/9.) So if you’ve been wanting to try my Grayson books, now is the time to do it.


Sourcebooks made Wickedly Charming free to promote the release of Utterly Charming this week, hoping to bump that book’s sales.

To my surprise, yesterday, the first day of the sale, Wickedly Charming hit the Kindle Bestseller list for all free books. Every since late yesterday, it’s been in the top 10.

I’ve said in my business blog that I’ve planned to do a loss leader for some time now.  A loss leader is giving something away for free to encourage sales. I had planned to do it with WMG. But Sourcebooks beat us to it.  So…I’m looking at this as an experiment. With Wickedly Charming so high in the rankings, I want to see the effect it has on the WMG books.

Twenty-four hours in, I can report that WMG has sold as many copies of the Kristine Grayson novels since the free book went live as WMG did last month. The free thing is working, and working quickly. The novels are of the same type as Wickedly Charming, sweet magical romances, more fantasy than romance. The biggest seller is the short story “The Charming Way” which says in the blurb that it inspired Wickedly Charming (and it did, too). In no way could anyone have read Wickedly Charming by the time we saw the first bump in sales. So some people are buying the books as they download the free book.

I know the bump in sales won’t be permanent, but some percentage will. What percentage, I have no idea.

The other short stories, two western romances and some plain old goofy stuff, aren’t selling nearly as well, although they’ve seen a bump too. (All short stories are 99 cents; both WMG novels are $4.99)

I’ll be interested to see what else happens, especially after the folks who downloaded the free book read it. I know that might take months. I still have free books on my Kindle that I downloaded last year and haven’t read. (A few of them published by Sourcebooks.) So the loss leader experiment begins, in a rather surprising way. Not only is the book free, but it’s in the top ten, which means that the readers who look for free stuff will find it easily. I’ll report more when I have news.

Oh, and if you like sweet, magical romances or goofy fantasy, then pick up your Kindle or Nook and download.  Also, if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can still download the free book for your desktop.




25 thoughts on “Free E-Book

  1. I was charmed by Wickedly Charming. The character of Prince Charming comes across as a real person, with flaws and all. He’s so sweet. I’d love to meet a middle-aged man like this prince.

  2. Kris:

    I thought you should know the following:

    I clicked on the Kindle link in your post and arrived at a page with the book listing at a price of $6.99.

    I clicked on the Nook link and arrived at a page with the book listing as FREE.

    Needless to say, I left the Kindle page and clicked through further on the Nook page.

    Thanks for the heads-up and thanks (to you and Sourcebooks) for the free book.



    P.S.: Sourcebooks–interesting company. Very imaginative and a strange combination of contrarian and traditional in their publishing method.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up, John. The Sourcebooks special is only until this weekend. It might be that it ended already. I thought until 10/9, but I’m not sure. I’m in Canada, so I can’t easily get, right now.

      And yes, Sourcebooks–very interesting. I’m enjoying all of this. It’s quite different from my trad pub experience before. Whether or not it works is another matter. I’m hoping it will, obviously. But watching with interest.

  3. Oooh, yeah. You have a *big* ride coming :D, and the really fun part will be next week, not this week. I think this is actually a smart strategy WMG could use a lot – you guys have lots of series and interrelated works, and it’s just a matter of getting them discovered by the current amazon audience.

    1. Thanks, Debora. It’ll be interesting. As I said, we’ve been planning to do this. Sourcebooks just got there first. Which is a lot of fun. Since they’re doing a push, we get to benefit, which is what I hoped for when I stayed with traditional publishing for some of my books. Fingers crossed that it works as well as you say.

  4. Just picked up a copy to read on my iPad (once again taking advantage of the free Kindle reader).
    Oh, and in case you were curious, the Amazon rankings as of today, Wed., Oct 5, 9:57 a.m.) were:
    #7 Free in Kindle Store
    #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Fantasy, Futuristic & Ghost

    Way to go, Kris!

    – Liz

  5. Sounds like an interesting experiment. How do you plan on tracking the following? “I’ll be interested to see what else happens, especially after the folks who downloaded the free book read it. I know that might take months.”

    By the way, I’m one of those hoarder types. I’ll download a free book, but I might not get around to reading it right away.

    Best of luck, by the way. I hope it improves sales on all your books.


    1. Thanks, Jodi. I have no idea how I’ll track it. I know the baseline that the books sold before this. If that baseline remains the same or goes up, then I’ll see what’s going on. I expect a blip for a week or two, and then we’ll see. As I said, it’s going to be interesting. And yeah, I have 22 pages of stuff on my Kindle home page–free samples, free books, purchased books, and periodicals. I’m an ebook hoarder and proud of it. 🙂

  6. I downloaded a copy for my Kindle, too, so like Louisa, I have a hard and e-copy now. 🙂 And like you, I have free books sitting on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet, but I will. I’m hoping to find some cool new favorite writers that way.

    Loss leaders work in other retailer industries, I don’t see why they won’t work for indie writer/publishers, too — provided they’re targeted to promote the same kind of book. I’m not surprised you had a bump in the WMG Grayson novels. I am surprised that it happened that quickly.

  7. Get Sourcebooks to send you numbers on the free downloads. By day, if you can. At that rank, I’d expect you did 25-30K downloads in the first 24 hours :). It should help you know how long you’d try free in future (the good news is that a publisher can control it a lot better than an indie). If I try free again, I’ll be aiming it for 3-4 days. Downloads and free rank drop off fairly sharply after that.

    When you shift back to paid, all your freebies count towards your initial sales rank – so if you stay in the top 50 free, expect to pop out in or very near the top 100 in the paid Kindle store. *Then* the sales numbers really get interesting :). Based on anecdotal experience from a number of indie author experiments, you’ll see a sales boost for about a month, and then the book will settle back to it’s new “baseline” level.

    1. Hmm. Debora. I didn’t know that about the freebies counting toward the initial sales rank. Fascinating. We’ll see how this all goes. It’s new to me.

  8. I picked it up following the link in Dean’s post), read it last night, liked it. Smooth read. I’ve passed it on to my girlfriend to see if she enjoys it.

    On the business side, this is the first “free book” I’ve got of Kindle (not counting the ‘public domain classics’), and I suspect that’s because it’s a short-term promotion. (“Free is cheap”, and all that.) Looking at the “customers…also bought” section seems to make it a good strategy, though. I also note that there’s ‘only 3 left in stock!’ of the paperback, but that might be unrelated.

    I know this particular promotion was a publisher decision, but I think that once I have at least ten books under one name up, I’ll do a similar thing (except world-wide). Can’t hurt.

  9. Got my Nook copy! Almost forgot how much I love this book. Now I have both hard copy and soft copy :<) Can't wait to read it again…and again…and again!

  10. This is definitely an interesting experiment, Kris. When I downloaded WC after you tweeted, it was number #12. When I checked five minutes later, it was #10. Glad to hear that you’re already seeing the bump.

  11. And if anyone wants PDF format, the Sourcebooks website has that available. ^_^

    I’m looking forward to reading this one. I enjoyed Simply Irresistible.

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