This has created a situation where to have a chance of reaching the top of the best seller’s lists a book has to gather free downloads in excess of tens of thousands, and the only way to achieve this is to make sure that as many people as possible know that a book is being given away for free. Thus the fight for visibility in the Kindle store is now carried out at the level of the blogs that advertise free promotions to readers.
Authors used to be able to list their book for free in several blogs. This is still happening in several automated blogs that list free books as they become available, but the turnover of books is so high that this advertising option has a limited effect. The next option is blogs that accept submissions of books that will be free and feature them in their pages. However these blogs have had to raise their acceptance standards due to the large number of submissions, and now books are often listed only if they have a rating of 4 stars on ten or more reviews. The competition is so fierce to promote free books that authors are resorting to paid advertising in blogs, and many blogs whose promotional services in the past were free now have paying options or have switched to only paying options altogether.
As the avalanche of free books keeps increasing, the only way to have a decent chance at a successful free promotion will be to pay for it, and this will only add to the costs of a book. Taking into account that in the majority of the cases the bottleneck for any measure of book selling success is not how good a book is (within reason of course) but rather its discoverability, it is very important that authors consider how much of their budget they will spend on editing, formatting, and cover design vs. how much they will devote to promotion.
I miss the old good old days in which making books free used to be free. Now free is getting expensive!
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