Let me explain.
Lately, there’s a trend for authors to band together and offer free ebooks in a mass giveaway. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve even participated in the past. Authors get to collect email addresses for newsletters—hoping to convert the reader into a fan—and readers get to discover books they may not have chosen otherwise.
Normally, when I see a group giveaway, I’ll scan through the titles and see if anything interests me. I’ve stopped downloading books simply because they’re free, and only download if I intend to read them. My Kindle is overflowing as it is, so a lot of times, I leave these giveaways without opting to download a single title.
Recently, however, a particular book caught my eye. It’s one I had been considering for a while, and since it was being offered through an Instafreebie giveaway, I thought why not? I hopped over, provided my email address, and downloaded my free book.
I thought so too until I reached the end of Chapter 6 and this message appeared: If you enjoyed this preview, I hope you’ll check out the full book on Amazon!
Nothing like being six chapters into a novel and realizing the free “book” you downloaded was only a preview.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work:
Author offers free ebook.
Reader provides email address to the author in exchange for the book.
I held up my end of the deal by providing my email, but did not get the free book I was promised in return. How does that make me feel?
Worse, the author lost an opportunity for a new reader. I was enjoying the story, but suddenly—no more book. At that point, it was 10 o’clock at night and I was on my Kindle Paperwhite which doesn’t allow me to make purchases. I would have had to add the book to my wish list, then hop on my iPhone or computer to finish the purchase. Not likely given how irked I felt.
I started reading something else and don’t know that I will ever get back to the original book again. The author had just released the second book in the series so it made sense to do an Instafreebie–except it wasn’t. There are several book series I faithfully follow that initially hooked me through a free ebook. In this case, I’m sure I would have finished the first book and bought the second, likely becoming a long time fan.
That’s all down the drain given the avenue this author chose to take.
Is this the new trend, or did I miss something in the fine print? As authors we value the readers who provide their email addresses and sign up for our newsletters. There is a certain level of trust that’s expected when a reader volunteers that information. I hope what happened to me was a goof and not something most authors will practice going forward. If you promise a free book, deliver a free book. It should be simple.