Indypub: How to get your stories to go free on Amazon

I recently experimented with putting up my first free story to Amazon, and am working on my second.

A caveat: I wouldn’t put stories up for free if they weren’t there to do more for you than just spread your name around.  I think they should be there to lead people to specific stories–if you like this, then chances are you will like that, specifically.  The story should be a short story; the thing you’re leading to should be a novel or novella.  IMO.

Results to date:  over 2000 copies of Miracle, Texas have been downloaded on Amazon US and over 100 on Amazon UK (which I did later but seems to be slower anyhow).  (Not sure about B&N or other sites yet; they haven’t reported back to Smashwords).  Additional sales at this point:  THBBBBT.  It’s been almost two weeks.  I curse the need for patience, yet there it is.

The next story going up is Bunny Attack! (currently free on Smashwords) to advertise for the kids’ story collection.  I sell way more stories for kids than I do for adults, so this might be interesting.

Steps:

  • Publish the story for free at Smashwords.
  • Push the story from Smashwords to B&N, even if you would normally post through PubIt.
  • Publish the story for .99 or whatever at Amazon.com (you cannot set the price to free from Amazon.com).
  • Wait for the story to show up as free on B&N (you cannot set the price to free from PubIt).
  • Go to Amazon.com and report that the story is free at B&N:  click the “tell us about a lower price” link under the sales rankings (they don’t seem to care about Smashwords rates).
  • Enter the B&N web address (for the story, now free) and report the price as $0 with $0 shipping.
  • Get 7-8 other people to do the same.
  • Wait about 2 weeks for the story to go free on Smashwords.

You can also do this for Amazon.co.uk.

  • Don’t use the US (B&N) link to report on your free story; it doesn’t seem to have any effect.
  • When you publish the story on Smashwords (for free), be sure to push it through to Apple/iBooks.
  • When the story flips free at Apple UK, then report on the link to Amazon UK.
  • Get the Apple UK link at Russell Phillips’s website: http://www.russellphillipsbooks.co.uk/pages/tools.php

I think you can do the same thing for Amazon Germany, but I haven’t tried it yet.

The important thing here is to get a group of people to help you out and report, and to have patience.

@#$%^& patience.

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4 Comments

  1. Liz

    I think my brain has finally absorbed that I can publish and sell my stories myself without waiting for an acceptance letter (even though I still totally want to be published by a magazine). How do you decide which stories to send out to magazines and which ones to self-publish on Smashwords/BN/Amazon?

  2. I’m just wondering if it’s alright to copy some piece of this article to use for my powerpoint project.

    • De

      I’ll contact you offline. – update, your email bounced. The answer is no until you contact me offline. Thanks.

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