I read a fantastic post the other day by David Gaughran http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/using-free-on-standalone-books-guest-post-by-indie-author-hollister-ann-grant/ on the subject of free books.
I have always thought about using this strategy myself but always seem hold myself back for a variety of reasons. The main one being that I have seen a lot of indie authors using this technique without much success. A lot of people argue (and it is mentioned in this article) that a large proportion of people do not read free books, they just download them for the sake of it. And while my book is at such a low price already - would I see that much difference anyway?
But then I discovered David Gaughran's post and it made me reconsider: should I make my first book free for a short period of time, say two weeks? I have seen a lot of talk between indie writers who say that as soon as they make a book free, they receive a phenomenal amount of downloads.
David says that in order for this strategy to be successful you need to have a good book, present it professionally, and to have written in a popular genre. Now I know my book is presented professionally and formatted well - I think the first point is a matter of personal opinion - but I am not so sure that it's under a popular genre from the evidence I have seen so far. But I am still considering whether to make this book free in time for when I release my second one about travelling Canada. If I do decide to make it free then I hope more people will download it and then buy the second book. But then the element of self doubt creeps in and I think: what if they absolutely hate my first book so therefore decide not to buy my second. If my book wasn't free in the first place then they may have taken the chance to buy both books because of the low price. But because I have made my first one free, they have decided to read that first before making a decision to buy the next one. If the first one wasn't free then some people may read the second one first - I have written it in such a style where this is perfectly possible to do so, everything will still make sense to the reader, no matter if they haven't read the first one. If they like it then they'll probably buy the other one. I guess the only way I'll know is to do it and to stop worrying so much. I guess I'm just concerned that they'll end up liking one book more than the other.
What are you thoughts on this situation? Have you seen success yourself if you've made a book free?