Why give away an e-book?

The Portal continues to be free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The main idea here is to generate customer reviews, because reviews are what stimulate e-book sales.  As my publisher says:

The more reviews, the more sales. In other words, “people are interested in buying what other people are interested in reviewing”. This is the basic definition of Social Engagement.

Reviews are hard to come by, actually.  I don’t know what percentage of readers leave reviews, but it can’t be very high.  Giving the book away for a while increases the pool of readers, which increases your odds of getting reviews.

My publisher is more interested in the number of reviews than how positive the reviews are, but obviously that matters to the author!  It also matters to some potential advertisers, who aren’t interested in promoting books unless they have received a certain number of reviews at a certain quality level (e.g., at least 10 reviews, average higher than 4.0).

Here are the first couple of (five-star) reviews that have come in as a result of this promotion. Both readers have a similar reaction — which is exactly the reaction I was hoping for, actually. This one is titled “A Lot of Heart”:

I thought at first this was going to be another YA gimmicky novel with kids complaining about their lives and using the device of dimension travel just to come up with random quirky things, but this book is much more than that. You really get to know and care about the characters, and things move along quite well and not predictably. The really surprising part is the life lessons learned by the characters – they really leave you with something more than just a fun little read. Glad I read it!

And this one is titled “Very Enjoyable”:

Really enjoyed this book. At first I thought it was going to be kind of silly but it didn’t take long till I could hardly put the book down. I found myself identifying with the curiosities of Larry.

Really hope there is a second in the series coming!

So, thanks to these readers, and everyone else who takes the time to leave a review.

The newly re-covered Summit is free on iTunes!

I don’t know why we keep giving stuff away, but we do.  Here you go.

Here’s that new cover everyone’s been talking about, with the Kremlin clock tower that no one recognizes:


As with other free offers, the idea is to bludgeon Amazon into also making the book free by having thousands of rabid fans click on the “tell us about a lower price” link on the Summit page. Please help — it only takes a few seconds.

My wily publisher’s idea, by the way, is to tie Summit to Marlborough Street as part of a “psychic thriller” series.  Works for me if it will sell copies!

By the way, Dover Beach continues to be free on Amazon.  It’s piling up some really nice reviews, along with a couple that make me scratch my head.  One of them is probably worth a separate post.

Dover Beach is free on iTunes (let’s make it free on Amazon)!

In celebration of the failure of the world to end or something, Dover Beach is now free on iTunes.  (The idea is that, if you like Dover Beach, you’ll spend real money on its thrilling sequel, The Distance Beacons.)

You can help make Dover Beach free on Amazon, which will match Apple’s price if we nag it often enough.  The idea is to go down to the place on the Amazon page for Dover Beach where it says “tell us about a lower price” and enter the iTunes URL:


. . . and report that it’s selling there for $0.00.  You can keep doing this if you’re so inclined, and eventually through the miracle of our collective action Amazon will capitulate.  Thanks!