The most important word in that two-word sentence is you.
I know this because I’ve already tried it, and Amazon told me the only way I [me, Faydra Deon Fields, personally, myself] could ever offer my eBook for free through their site is to enroll my eBook in their KDP Select Program, which means that I can’t offer my eBook on any other site as long as it’s a part of the KDP Select Program, and then I can only offer my eBook for free for up to five days, even though the minimum amount of time that I have to be enrolled in the KDP Select Program is 90 days.
The KDP Select Program… yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother post, so let me stay on track.
Author Ni’cola Mitchell tried to tell me that it couldn’t be done in a straight forward way, and I just refused to believe her even after she told me that she’d already tried it.
I mean, I’m the great and powerful Faydra Deon! She just didn’t know how to do it. I can do it, even though she can’t, right?
Did I mention that Ni’cola Mitchell has been in the writing and publishing game far longer than me and has sold way more books than me? Of course, there are things she already knows that I don’t, and I could have saved myself some time by just listening to her. Sigh.
It’s true that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of always-free eBooks on Amazon, but three of the most common ways that this is accomplished is as follows:
1. Be published with the Big Six
Traditional publishers work out terms with Amazon for their authors to have some of their eBooks listed for free to get readers interested enough to actually purchase other of their authors’ eBooks. Some of these eBooks are merely sneak peeks of the entire eBooks and others are actually full eBooks.
2. Backdoor Amazon through Smashwords
Authors upload their eBooks to Smashwords and set the price to $0.00. They then tick off the box to distribute to Amazon through Smashwords. After several weeks, much longer than it takes if an author publishes with Amazon him/herself, and if Amazon doesn’t catch you, your eBook will be listed for free.
3. Invoke the masses
Authors upload their books to sites, including Smashwords, and set their eBook price to $0.00. They then publish their eBook through Amazon and then beseech their readers to bombard Amazon with the fact that the book is free elsewhere. Not always, but it has worked for several authors, Amazon will eventually reduce your eBook to the cost of zero. You can find the link to ask Amazon to do a price match at the bottom of Product Details (right before Customer Reviews) on the eBook’s page on Amazon.
I’m sure there are some other ways authors are accomplishing this task without going through KDP Select, but these are the three that I’ve become aware of by doing internet research.
Personally, none of the above-mentioned methods appealed to me, which is why I’ve started creating my free eBooks as Android apps. I’m working on the iTunes apps as you read this. Stay tuned!