Obviously, the biggest problem with pricing your books at $0.00 is that 70% of that is still $0.00, and the phone bill is substantially more than that.
It seems like an attractive proposition for new authors, though. Make your books available for free for a limited amount of time and enough copies will be downloaded to provide a solid base of reviews. Hopefully good ones. The reviews can then be leveraged in blurbs, blogs and the like, hopefully resulting in real sales at a non-zero price.
It never works that way, though.
First, free is seen by very many consumers as worthless. Many a kindle are filled with free books that never get read. If you (as a consumer) don’t pay for a product, you instinctively don’t place any value on it and I as an author really don’t want you to de-value the work I’ve put in to the writing process.
Second, on the writer’s side of the table, it’s difficult to not resent readers who download free books and don’t follow up with a review. I know, it’s not reasonable. Not everybody reviews. But there’s an implied deal — you get the book for nothing, you owe me a review of some sort. Even if it’s a 1-star “Why did I buy this piece of crap” review.
I don’t want any of us to be in that position. (And after nine books, I have no illusions about the buy/review ratio. It’s around 50:1)
The first books in the three series I’ve written are now available on Smashwords as “Pay what you think it’s worth”. You can put 0.00 in there if you want (and I’ll bear no ill-will if you do), but there’s a recommended price, so at least I’m setting a perceived value. I feel good, you feel good, we all win.
Thanks, and happy reading