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.
- 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.