Can’t Even Give It Away …

img_6284If we were having coffee today I’d admit I was a little depressed this week, because I’ve had a free promotion running all month and although it’s done okay, this promotion hasn’t been nearly as successful as I’d hoped.

“Free?  How can you make any money doing that?”

The truth is, I don’t, but I hoped to get a lot more people interested in my first novel so they’d be ready for the publication of its sequel this fall.

“And you say you can’t even give it away?”

Well, a debut novel is often a hard sell.  Nobody knows who I am, and it is sort of a mixed genre.  People get stuck in romance, mystery, suspense and … well, it has elements of all those things but mostly it is just a good story about a man who’s obsession is his own worst enemy.  Everybody who reads it loves it.  There are twenty-two good reviews on Amazon.  I thought for sure I’d get a lot of downloads when it was free.

“So, what’s the problem?”

I think it is because it is only free on one site … Smashwords.

“What the heck is Smashwords?”

They are a premier self-publishing platform used by hundreds of thousands of independent authors.  A vast percentage of ebooks come from Smashwords these days.

“I thought you had a publisher.”

Oh, I do.  But they also partner with small publishers like mine.  Smashwords converts ebooks into ALL available formats and distributes as well, to the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

“Wow.  So why is the free offer just available at Smashwords?”

They sell direct too; they have a safe online store of their own.  Registration is free and they don’t spam or sell info.  They are very sensitive to that problem.  They are a good deal for authors, too,  because the royalties are higher.  You’ve heard of cutting out the middle man to increase profits?  Well, in this case, they are the middle man.
They have a promotional period every now and then to spread the word about their own retail offers, and I decided to participate this time.  I think people are a little timid to participate because they’ve never heard of it.
It’s too bad, too, because there are thousands of free ebooks available at Smashwords this month, not just mine.  I just hoped people would take advantage of this great offer to give my book a chance. All they need to do is just register and use the code SFREE and download the book … for nothing!

“How do I do they download it?”

It depends on what the user has.  In their FAQ they have instructions for all the major ereader platforms.

“What about the paperback?”

Well, the paperback isn’t free, but it’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Createspace.

“Well, this freebie sounds like a good deal.”

Free is always good … but the promotion only lasts until the end of the month.  Time is running out.


Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.  And it’s true, his debut novel, THE FEVER, is indeed free for the rest of the month at Smashwords.  Links and more info about the book:


3 thoughts on “Can’t Even Give It Away …

  1. Oh, I like Smashwords. We used it for a compilation we did of a series of posts, turned them into a free download collection. I’ve had similar questions though, about what it is and why we used it instead of another platform. I think there’s just so much out there, on so many access platforms, that people get confused.


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