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SPQ 006: Perma-Free vs. KDP Select – What’s the Best Way to Market a Book Series?

Written by Leigh Morgan on December 31, 2014. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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Perma-Free vs. KDP Select – What’s the Best Way to Market a Book Series?

Is it better to sign up with KDP Select or make a Kindle book permanently free? Find out in this episode of Self-Publishing Questions.

The Question…

Antara wants to know Steve’s opinion on whether it is better to make a Kindle book permanently free or sign up for KDP Select and run free promos every 90 days. Steve has only used the “perma-free” strategy once, but a lot of fiction authors do it successfully. There is a way to get Amazon to list a book for free, but it does take a little bit of work. When publishing the book on Amazon, do not sign up for KDP Select. Set the price to 99 cents on Amazon; then publish it on Smashwords and other platforms.

Biggest Takeaway…

Steve’s Answer…

Here’s the process for creating a perma-free book…Set the book’s price to free on other platforms. Once your book is live, tell Amazon the book is free on another website. When Amazon sees that your book is free elsewhere, it will match the price for Kindle readers. It will take a few weeks before the price match goes into effect. KDP Select allows authors to give their books away for free for five days during every 90-day period.

The below image shows how to let Amazon know about the free book:

Perma-Free Notification to Amazon

Steve says fiction authors should absolutely use the perma-free strategy, especially to promote a series of books. It’s hard to get visibility on Amazon, so having a permanently free book is a good way to get people interested in a series. For nonfiction, it’s probably not necessary to make one of your books free.

Steve believes it is important to build up a catalog, but you might want to consider using the permafree strategy after publishing at least three books. Your free book doesn’t have to be very long – around 10,000 words should be fine – but it should solve a problem for your audience. Make sure the free book has good content and provides value so readers have a good experience.

Resource Links

Smashwords Style Guide: Learn how to format ebooks for the Smashwords platform

HabitBooks.net: Steve’s catalog of books on habit development

  • Steve,

    I have heard that permafree is recommended for fiction, but as someone who reads mostly nonfiction I know from personal experience that it can work for nonfiction as well.

    I’m on a tight budget, but my need to read made me start looking at the Top 100 free Kindle books just for something interesting that caught my eye. I found Johnny B. Truant, Bryan Cohen and a whole host of other authors that wrote something cool and led me to check out their other books/works.

    I’m now an avid listener of the Sell More Books Show and the Self Publishing Podcast because of permafree books.

    Once I build up my catalog I plan to do the same.

    Off to episode 7!

    George

    • Steve Scott

      Yes, it definitely works for nonfiction. I just had one book go perma-free for the habits market and it’s definitely helping grow my overall brand.

      That’s great to hear you found both shows because of the free books. Good to see you applying it yourself!

  • Yes, it definitely works for nonfiction. I just had one book go perma-free for the habits market and it’s definitely helping grow my overall brand.

    That’s great to hear you found both shows because of the free books. Good to see you applying it yourself!

  • Hi Steve, I re-read your answer here. Now, I don’t have a series (I’ll have later) but I nearly have one 16 k words fantasy fiction book and one sci-fi book, a bit longer. I plan the first, the shorter to make permafree and will advertise at the back of the first, the longer one with an excerpt. I wonder, can I un-permafree a book?
    Your advice about solving a problem and adding value is great but for a fiction, if being entertained, does it count as a value. By the way, are you reading any fiction books? I read that men predominantly read non-fiction, whereas women – fiction, Strangely most of the fiction writers are men.
    One last question, did you read in Buckbooks about epic book lounge? I am going to watch their free webinar.

    • I think you can un-permafree. You have to make sure the book has been taken down from all the platforms. Should be able to do it with Smashwords, but it might take a few weeks–even months–to make happen.

      I do love reading fiction. Mostly thriller, horror and fantasy. Actually I read more fiction lately, than the non-st ff.

      Heard about Epic Book Launch. But haven’t tried it, so don’t have an opinion. Might do so down the road…

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