NEW: Sign up to get freelance writing jobs in your inbox. SUBSCRIBE

Should You Write a Free E-book?

Read Time: < 1

People write e-books for several reasons. One of those reasons is to make money. So why would any e-book author be willing to give their e-book away for free?

If you're planning to write an e-book, how should you decide whether to charge for it or give it away?

It really comes down to why you're writing your e-book in the first place. If your primary goal is to make money through the e-book sales, free e-books obviously aren't for you. However, if your goal is to use the e-book to market something else (your blog, website, a larger e-book, another product, or your services), or just to help build your reputation more as an expert in the niche, writing a free e-book could be a good idea. Here's why:

  1. Free e-books naturally can give you more exposure, because anyone can get their hands on a copy.
  2. If you haven't already built a reputation in your niche, people may not be willing to pay you for what you have to say yet anyway.
  3. Free e-books have a better chance of spreading virally. Most paid e-books don't grant the buyer the right to distribute the e-book to others, while free e-books often do. Using a free e-book as a viral marketing tool simply means that your e-books will get passed around via word of mouth (or the Web's equivalents).

Even if your primary goal is to make money from your e-book, don't necessarily snub free e-books. You may find that offering a free shorter version or excerpt actually promotes the sales of your primary e-book.

Have you written and distributed a free e-book in the past? Why did you do it, and how did it work out for you?

4 thoughts on “Should You Write a Free E-book?”

  1. I haven’t given away free e-books, but on my website www.KristiHoll.com I have “given away” free sample chapters of my book for writers called Writer’s First Aid. Browsers have a chance to read a sample chapter from each of the four sections of the book before choosing whether or not to buy. It seems to be working as a selling tool. Other webmasters have also used the free chapters as articles on their websites, with the buying information at the end of the article.

    www.Writers-First-Aid.blogspot.com

    Reply
  2. Jennifer, so nice to find your blog and the wealth of information here.

    In addition to the wonderful reasons you cite above, I do offer a free e-book on my site because, quite honestly, if people do the work in the “workbook” it makes working with clients flow so much more smoothly. In a very real sense, it’s a credibility builder, as well as a training tool.

    Thanks for the service you provide here to your readers!

    Reply
  3. Not yet … but I’m planning on one to establish credibility for a series of related titles under the heading of “If the free one was that good, then the $$ ones are probably worth paying for.” Of course, I intend that the pay titles actually BE worth their cost.

    Reply

Leave a Comment