Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In praise of free reads

Free reads are awesome. In the age of digital books and the internet, it's very easy to find perfectly legal free reads. And I don't mean just contests to win books, though that's cool too. I mean a totally free ebook, through various sources. Booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble both have free sections. Publishers will offer temporary promotional freebies to get readers hooked on an author or series or a niche genre they publish. Authors will offer free short stories on their websites to entice readers.

Speaking as a reader who doesn't have a lot of money to spend on books, I really appreciate all these sources of legal free reads. Sure, there are duds out there. Some of what I've gotten for free I never finished because I just didn't care for the book. But I've lucked into some really good stuff for free too. One of the freebies I got from Amazon introduced me to an author who is now an auto-buy for me. All these freebies are a great way to test drive authors that are new to you, authors that you might not otherwise be too sure about spending money on. But once you've tried them and know you like their work, if you're like me you probably wind up searching for their back list. Especially if that initial free read hooked you on a series.

Because I have seen myself and other readers spend money on authors first encountered as a free read, as a writer I am a big proponent of the idea. That's why I have a Free Reads page on my blog with two short stories for download that serve as prequels of a sort to my May release Mojo Queen. I think it's a great idea for any author, especially one just starting out, to give readers a free taste of what you can do as a writer. I'm hoping people might come across these stories and decide to give Mojo Queen a try. Even if it only nets a few sales, it's worth it to me. Besides, I wrote these stories out of love for the characters so it only makes sense to share them. It certainly can't hurt anything.

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