I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



No. The answer is in the question giving away a book is NOT a sale. To be a bestSELLER you have to sell a lot of books. To call yourself a (recognisable) bestseller like USA/NYT, there are sales minimums of between 4,000 and 10,000 PAID units within one week.

We discussed this in another thread, and to interest an agent I heard you need a minimum of 10,000 sales at a price point of $2.99 or higher. Michael stated that due to the flood of free/cheap books the sale point may be higher now and more like $3.99.


Then what is the whole point of “permafree”? Is it worth or is it pointless?

What is the absolute best way to sell without resorting to “permafree”?


Permafree works when you have a series as you make money on the sell through. I certainly wouldn’t do it for less than a 3-4 book series (so 2-3 at full price). Most freebies are never read and as a consequence you need to giveaway tens or hundreds of thousands to have any read and then find a small percentage of those who go on to buy the next book.

Permafree worked well for a number of years but has certainly diminished over the last couple of years. I took my book off permafree at the beginning of this year and I now sell more than I was giving away for free.

Whether your book is free or $4.99 (or whatever price you have set) it’s not going to move on its own. You have to advertise or it will disappear in the book ocean. That’s also assuming you have a polished product (cover/blurb/craft/edited) that can compete in an over crowded market.


Absolutely not. Free means nothing as far as the publisher is concerned. Also keep in mind that if someone takes a free copy doesn’t mean it’s going to be read. I have hundreds of free books I picked up “just in case” but I rarely have read any of those. If a title starts to “break out” and get a lot of buzz, then I might crack it but most sit unopened.


Permafree can be a good marketing tool for authors that have an extensive backlist, good reviews, and excellent word-of-mouth. Basically they are lowering the barrier to entry for the first book and making “good money” on the follow on sales.

It isn’t something that should be used by everyone. If you have only one book - you definitely shouldn’t go permafree. Also, if your book isn’t “well regarded” Permafree won’t help – and may hurt. It would be better for the “poorly rated” book to fade away rather than trying to draw attention to it.

The absolute best way to sell is to write a REALLY good book – and by that I mean a book that people love so much that they tell others about it. And then rinse and repeat.


I agree with all of this.


Well, this is depressing. My novel isn’t doing so well that’s why I turned to “permafree” to see some interest. Last time I had 2,500 downloads during its five day Kindle run.


2,500 downloads in 5 days is pretty good…but yeah, free downloads don’t mean much. Most of them will sit unread. Is this your only book? If so, I’d take it off of permafree, and work on getting your next title out.


Permafree is a marketing strategy. What was your strategy in setting the book to free? How many other books do you have available to take advantage of sell through? What advertising and promotion did you undertake to increase downloads?

Sorry to burst your bubble but 2,500 downloads over 5 days is really low. You’d be lucky if 250 of those are ever read. You also run the risk of seeing an influx of 1-star reviews as readers often take a chance on freebies that aren’t what they normally read. When I do big pushes for a freebie I expect 30,000-70,000 downloads over a couple of days, which generates sufficient sell through to make back the advertising cost.


I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions here. It’s greatly appreciated.




Why thanks for saying that. I’m glad to help where I can. And thank you and the others here that are knowledgable that add to the conversation.


You are very kind.


I want to be an author when i grow up. May you please can you give me some tips on what I should expect in the author world?


This may sound like a stupid question but I’ve found nothing in this genre for word count wise… Lgbt+ romance. What’s the sweet spot word count?


For trad pub, 75K-100K. Sweet spot is 80-90K.

For self pub, length doesn’t matter as long as pricing is correct.


Ok thanks, I had been curious like for most writers with “Trad” publishing. How long does it usually take for your book to go towards “Trad” publishing?


Ahhh, the joys of writing a historical LGBT vampire romance…you know only the Anne Rice group would be into it, haha, but books like that seem like they’d be so difficult to publish traditionally.


Because so few authors actually earn well from novels, it’s best to have realistic expectations about earning and writing. That said, I do earn well, and I know a lot who do…so it is POSSIBLE. Best advice I can give is enjoy what you write and have that be your reward (not the money). That way if you later DO receive financial success it’ll be a bonus.

If you are REALLY set on that path, then try to find a “day job” that allows you to write while being paid. For instance a security guard on a night shift…or a hotel clerk on the night shift. Both of these jobs pay you for essentially “staying awake.” You’ll have to do a bit of work here and there, but for the vast majority of the time you can be working on your books.


uh it’s just there’s nothing with fantasy, vampires, witches, etc.