I’ve read a lot of articles on this matter, and I’ve come to the conclusion that as an indie author, there can be no greater first step to getting your book out there than giving away free copies. I know, I know…”I put soooo much work into this book, I deserve to get money for everyone I sell!” Well, stop complaining. Seriously, no one likes a complainer. It’s, like, a fact.
The truth is, you don’t deserve the people’s money…at least not yet. You must first prove yourself.
That’s right: prove yourself. If that sounded like the objective of the level on that video game you’ve never been able to finish and win, then we’re on the same page…er, level. Listen, over the past (nearly) five days, I’ve sold upwards of 400 copies of my book. They were free copies, yes, but the exposure I’ve gotten from them has been tremendous and the fact that it graced the top ten bestsellers list of multiple children’s ebooks categories on Amazon awarded me even MORE exposure. I mean, The Iron-Jawed Boy shared the same page as Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland; it doesn’t get much more badass than that. Now, that’s not to say giving out free ebooks is a good thing for everyone, because if you’ve written a baaaad book, you can expect to get baaaad reviews AND you didn’t even get the satisfaction of having those bad reviews come, at least, from royalties. In that respect, no, giving out free ebooks is not advised, lol.
If you have, however, written an awesome book (or even a mediocre one), the exposure is VITAL to your mission. Just think about it: those 400-some people who got your book for free might very well recommend the book to others, write a review, OR even buy the paperback for their kids or family or friends when Christmas rolls around. The amount of people reached could potentially be tremendous!
Lastly, mentality is everything. It’s very important, at least in my opinion, to understand that you’re not going to be making much of anything off your books in the first couple years, unless of course you’re releasing a few books over the course of a year or shorter (I’ve seen SO many success stories that were based on those tactics). And it’s IMPERATIVE that you come to terms with that. Impatience leads to mistakes; mistakes that can’t be rewritten.