Kindle Free Titles: Lessons Learned

I debated writing this as multiple posts, but I’ll save us all the hassle and keep it a list:

  1. Free books get more reviews.
  2. My ratings (subjective) were consistently lower than the average ratings on Amazon.
  3. Free books have generally higher ratings even if they aren’t great (editing-wise, story-wise, etc.) than similar titles which aren’t free.
  4. Even if a first book in a series is free, if the next is above $0.99, significantly less people will read it; however, more people will read the second book than those that would have read the first book if the first book wasn’t free. (To Sum: A series where the first book is free will have more readers overall, but not necessarily equivalent to what the first book gets).
  5. Free book still require advertising, but luckily, most promotional websites prefer free items.

Most of those are completely predictable. So…what editing gaffs did I come across most commonly:

  1. Comma errors (generally absentee commas)
  2. Overuse of pronouns
  3. Voice / pacing issues (sentence length, repetitive use of same first word sentences, passive voice)
  4. Plot holes (digging to China type – many just ignored logic entirely)
  5. Lack of character motivation or development. Second to this – a number of secondary characters had no personality outside of their service to the plot or main character’s story arch.

#1 and #3 were the most common, but #5 wasn’t far behind.

All in all – a free book (as predicted) is a great selling tool. If you self-publish, I definitely recommend waiting until you have 2-3 in a series and then making the first one free out of the gate. A number of cheaper promo sites favor free books, and readers are more generous when reviewing (and more willing to read free books in the first place).

In February, I’m back to reviews on request, so if you’d like to be considered, send me a book blurb, age category, genre, and length via the comments section.

As always, good luck!

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