How to Get a Book Listed as Free on Amazon

amazon imageI had both emotional and practical reasons for wanting Dragon Hoard offered for free. I really wanted to give something back to the world of literature, which had been such an important part of my life.

In addition to this, I’d read that it might actually be a wise move to have a free ebook. Every debut author starts with a disadvantage. The number one reason people buy books is that they’ve read a book by that author before and liked it. Hard to do if you don’t have any books out there. Starting with a free one might be a good way to level the playing field a bit. Lots of people download free books. Some of them even read them.

This was perfect. Both my business and personal reasons dovetailed perfectly.

Smashwords, B&N, iBooks, Nook–all these were no problem. Just set the price for free.

Amazon was another story. Ninety-nine cents was their minimum price.

Not to worry, I was told. Rat on yourself. Tell Amazon your book is offered free elsewhere. They’ll price match.

So accordingly, I sent my email and waited with confidence. And my request was denied.

Denied? I sent another email. Same thing.

I went two weeks and sold exactly five books. Meantime, I had 135 downloads on Smashwords. This was beyond frustrating. I didn’t want to sell my books. I needed them to find an audience.

So I used a back door. Kindle doesn’t give you a way to have Amazon call you, but the regular Amazon site does. So I called and asked the nice person on the other end to transfer me to Kindle. And hey, it worked.

I was extremely polite. I asked if it would do any good to have a bunch of my friends report me. I didn’t want to ask them to go to the bother (or Amazon either for that matter) if it wasn’t going to do any good. I explained that I couldn’t possibly used Kindle select, since it was a collection of short stories, and some of them were published elsewhere.

And the nice man on the other end of the phone told me he could price match for me.

The first day I had seventeen Amazon downloads, which is way up from five over ten days.

I don’t know if this will always work or not. But I offer it as a possibility for anyone who’s stuck in the same frustrating place.

It worked for me. 🙂

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Avid writer and reader, especially of fantasy. Learning about social networking and always interested in honing my writing skills. Contact me at cathleentownsend.com.

Posted in Publishing
3 comments on “How to Get a Book Listed as Free on Amazon
  1. christinadrh says:

    Thank you! I was not familiar with Smashwords, just signed up. Good luck and continued sales Cathleen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always interesting how the human touch changes things. Plus, nice not to have to write that email 😀 I’d’ve done it, but better that they saw the light and changed it. Hope you get some nice download numbers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, it’s different once you get a book out there, and now it’s time to find readers for real, instead of reading on other people’s posts how they do it. I’m hoping having it totally free will help. 🙂

    Like

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