If you like horror short stories, you have two days to get a free copy of my ebook, "Big Chills", a collection of short horror stories that pack a wallop at the end.
That's because "Big Chills" is being offered for free on Amazon.com on January 26-27.
I've taken the plunge. After following the heated debate among indie authors about KDP Select, the Amazon program that lets readers borrow ebooks for free, I signed two of my ebooks up for it. KDP Select, in case you don't know, is a little perk that Amazon gives to its Amazon Prime members, where they can borrow one ebook a month for free, to read on their Kindle. There have been thousands of words written about this program since Amazon went public with it a few months ago, with writers divided on whether it's the greatest promotional tool ever invented or a crude ploy by Amazon to corner the market on ebooks.
Why are some writers mad? When you enroll an ebook in the KDP Select program, Amazon forces you to stop distributing it on any other sites -- including your own Web site or blog -- for 90 days. If you're selling a lot on Barnes & Noble, for example, you have to bite the bullet and lose those sales for 90 days. Other publishers are not pleased. Smashwords, in particular, released a statement saying that Amazon was being "predatory" and trying to take away writers' independence.
Amazon says that it's doing writers a favor -- that by offering your ebook to its huge audience for free, either through its lending library or as a free promotion (you're allowed to offer your ebook for free for five days during that 90 day period, and that's what I'm doing with "Big Chills") you'll get a large boost in name recognition among readers, and that will carry over to more sales for your other ebooks.
Plus, Amazon is paying writers every time their ebook is borrowed. There's a formula for payouts, but basically it works out to $1.70 per ebook.
I don't like the idea of giving my work away for free, but I finally decided to enroll a couple of my ebooks in the program. The reason is that Amazon does have a huge audience, and its giving away free Amazon Prime trial memberships to everyone who buys a Kindle Fire (and that's a lot of people). As an indie author I need exposure, and it's worth trying KDP Select to get that.
Plus, I already know it works pretty well. I did a test promotion on my book "Facebook Ate My Life" and got hundreds of downloads. When the promotion ended I saw a bump in sales for all of my ebooks.
Now I'm going to do it again. This time it's "Big Chills". I'll post the results here when the promotion is finished.