Special Guest: Carrie

Carrie swore up and down she’d have all the html perfect, so I’m not going to needle her too much about stuff 😉 – especially since it was her birthday yesterday. So, anyway, guest post! Go! And remember to wish Ms. Carrie a very happy [belated] birthday! 😀

Thanks Lime for letting me guest on your blog today!  It’s quite the
honor, and well worth the year wait 🙂
Many of you probably don’t know me, after all my blog, Seductive Musings, is relatively small and I don’t really do Twitter, or Facebook, nor do I hold big fancy contests giving away e-readers and such.  I just blog about romance books that I am interested in and like to talk about with my virtual “friends” (ie blog readers).  Occasionally I have thoughts I like to share with anyone who happens to want to read it, like today’s post.  If I bore you incessantly, apologies, feel free to skip to the end and just say hello, LOL.
Today I thought I would share with you my thoughts about the “free” read.  Many publishers and authors like to offer free digital books, novellas and short stories to readers as a way to entice readers to buy more from that author.  Frankly, I think this is brilliant!  Because really, who doesn’t like something for free, especially a great book?  And therein lies the catch.  In order for this marketing tool to really be effective (ie sales of more books) the freebie has to be an excellent representation of what that author or publisher is trying to get us to buy more of.   “Excellent representation” being the key words.Caution:  Here lies manypitfalls, perils, and dangers!  A free read is a great way to test drive a new to you author, and unfortunately I don’t think that very important fact that this may be a readers first introduction to an author is taken into consideration often enough.Let me share with you a few of my free read experiences…some of which were great, others were complete disasters, and maybe the worst scenario, a not so good free read for a fantastic author.

One of the first free reads I came across was Anne Stuart’s The Wicked House of Rohan.  I had just read Ruthless and found out that Rohan was a free prequel to the book I had just read.  I really enjoyed Ruthless and wanted more, so I was eager to read Rohan.  However, Rohan, IMO was a complete mess.  I actually really disliked it.  The story was kind of all over the place, and way too short, created more questions, than answers (and not in a good way that would make you want to read the upcoming books in the series, but to avoid them at all costs kind of way).  This was a free read disaster for both me and the author.  It’s time I could have better spent on other things, and was not a good representation of the type of story I knew the author could tell.  If I had read The Wicked House of Rohan first, I never would have read anything else by this author.  To this day I’ve not read another of her books.  So there you go.

A free read that I also thought was a failure, was Lorelei James’ Slow Ride.  And unlike the previous book, it’s not because the story was bad, in fact I actually loved it because it was a snippet into the lives of characters that I had already come to love.  That, right there was the problem with this short story as a free read.  It was written as a freebie for readers of the already well established Rough Riders series, not any reader who may happen upon the free read.   If you didn’t already know the characters, then more than likely you wouldn’t connect with the characters since you learned very little about them, just a moment from their lives.  Which makes this book as a free read, a complete and utter failure.  The writing was good (as always), but it didn’t present this series in a favorable light, which is why I thing the book suffered in the Amazon reviews, and it made me sad
because Ms. James is one of my all time favorite authors!  Hands down,
I will buy whatever she writes because I know it will be good.  But if I
was a reader who had never read one of her books….then Slow Ride
wouldn’t necessarily make me want to buy more of her work because there was little to no character development.  Slow Ride would have been much better as a free read on the author’s site, or newsletter as a “thank you” to fans of the series, instead of a possible introduction to the series, which is what many of the free reads are to readers.

Now I’d like to share two free reads that I thought were very effective because it made me want to read more by the author.  The first is All’s Fair In Love & Seduction by Beverley Kendall.  I don’t know if she wrote this as a free read to promote the rest of the books in her Elusive Lords series, but if she did then I give her big kudo’s because All’s Fair didn’t read like a “freebie”, but just a great story that happened to have been free.  And it also made me want to pay to read the rest of the books in this series.  Brilliant!  And exactly what a free read should do if you are using it as a marketing tool.

The second book that was fabulous freebie (unfortunately it’s not free any longer) was Sweet Release by Pamela Clare.  This book was originally published in print several years ago, then went out of print, and was re-released by the author last year.  And occasionally Ms. Clare will have this book, or one of her others, as free reads, which is how I first read it.  I think this is the best type of free read.  It’s a book that was never written to be a free read, it’s just a great story that happened to be offered for free.  I know there have to be many readers, like myself, who send many many thanks to Ms. Clare…not necessarily for the free read,  but for the opportunity to discover her books.  I think she is an AMAZING author that I might have missed out on if it had not been for a free read.  I have purchased all of her backlist, and even purchased and given a few of her books away on my blog as gifts, resulting in countless other sales I’m sure (because they are that addictively good).  Right there, is why free reads are so powerful.

I know some of you may not agree with this, but if the free read ain’t great, then there is no way I am going to spend any of my hard earned, and very limited book buying money on anything else by that author!  It is why picking the right story for a free read is extremely important.   Because if I don’t already read your books, you have one chance with me with that free read.  I think the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is very appropriate in this instance.  Otherwise it’s sayonara, unless of course a book comes to me highly recommended by someone I trust to have similar romance reading tastes as mine, like Lime.  I know I can’t be the only one who does this, and I often wonder if I’ve missed out on some great reads because of this standard.  If I would have read Lorelei James’ free read first, before any of her other books, I really doubt I would have sought out her books.  As a result I would have missed out on one of my favorite authors.  Scary.
While there are many pitfalls, perils, and dangers associated with a free read, it can also hold a tremendous amount of power, and this is why the idea of the free read is brilliant….I just wish that a free read meant a good read 🙂  Here’s my motto for free reads…”if your gonna make it free, make it good!”   Ah, my own little Romance reading utopia, LOL.  Since that world doesn’t exist it’s back to reality. I thought I would share with you some current free reads on Amazon that have promise of being good reads…

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Have you had some crash and burn free reads, or did you discover a now favorite author with a free read?  If so, what were they? And have you read a free read by an author that you love, but didn’t so much care for the free read?  I’d be really interested to find that out as well. That way I can either avoid them, and commiserate with you, or we can dish about favorite free reads and if I get lucky maybe even find a few to add to my TBR 🙂
Have a great rest of the weekend and thanks for sticking with me!

10 thoughts on “Special Guest: Carrie

  1. Mary Kirkland (@scarymary66)

    I actually haven’t had this problem because I don’t read many ebooks and don’t think I’ve ever downloaded a free book from amazon. First off I don’t have an ereader of any kind and don’t plan on getting one, I just don’t do ebooks unless one of my author friends that I like sends me one that i actually like, then I’ll read it on the computer.

    I read a couple of Novellas and just didn’t like them, so I don’t read them as a rule anymore either.

    I do agree with you though, if you’re going to give away a free book in the hopes of getting people to read more of your books afterwards, make the free read something really good, that hooks the reader and makes them want to read more. if it’s not good, you may as well not write it or offer it at all.

    1. Carrie @ Seductive Musings

      Hi Mary,

      I think you make a very valid point. That not all romance readers are ebook readers. And while some authors who are self publishing will offer their new books in paperback, it’s usually in trade size which is usually at least $10…and many readers, like myself just can’t afford that. It’s a shame really because that situation is a lose, lose for both the author and the reader.

      And I think it takes a very talented writer to pen an outstanding novella. Due to it’s length every word is important to the story. Many times they just don’t work. I would think it would be harder to write shorter, then longer.

      Thanks for your comment Mary, and I hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Liz

    Carrie, great post! I am all over free reads. Mainly, because like you, I have a limited budget to spend on books (and let’s be real, how many $8 books can I buy before my husband flips? As it turns out…not all that many!). Many books I’m not thrilled with and just delete after reading or skimming, but I’ve found some really great gems and been turned onto some excellent authors. And I felt exactly as you did with Rohan and Slow Ride.

    The first book of Joely Sue Burkhart that I ever read is her free read The Horse Master of Shanhasson. Loved it. Popped out and grabbed the next immediately. I will read anything she writes.

    Mari Carr’s books are always fantastic but she’s had two freebies that really hooked me on her – Rough Cut and Come Monday.

    And Jess Dee’s Exotic Indulgence cemented her as an auto-buy for me (in her case, though, I already adored her tons. She’s like my literary crack dealer!). 🙂

    Loved the post, I’m off to check out your blog! 🙂

    1. Carrie @ Seductive Musings

      Hey Liz,

      Thanks for the other recommends. In the link that was deleted there was a link to a freebie by Jess Dee, actually there are at least two. You may have already read them, but here are the links just in case (and if you have a Nook, or another type of ereader it may also be free where you usually buy your ebooks)

      Exotic Indulgence http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CCM48M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=seducmusin-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005CCM48M

      There was another one, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be free anymore 🙁

      Thanks again and I hope to see you again!

  3. Carrie @ Seductive Musings

    Thanks for having me here Lime! I had hopes that the html code that I sent would make it easier for you to format the post, I never promised perfection, LOL. Most of it came out ok 🙂

    I’m sorry to see that the Amazon widget containing free reads that might be good got removed because of a deadlink…not quite sure why that happened, but oh well. For anyone that is interested here are a few that I’ve downloaded to try out that were included in the widget that got lost in translation:

    Maid for Love by Marie Force http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YKZIGI

    Sins of the Highlander by Dawn Halliday http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007NUVB2Q

    Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008840ICA

    Love Me by Bella Andre http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U6ZK06

    These are just a few, and I don’t guarantee that any of these will be good reads, but due to the amount of positive reviews, there is a good chance that they could be great reads 🙂 And they are ones that I’ve taken a chance on.

    Thanks again for having me, and for reading my somewhat lengthy thoughts 🙂

  4. Limecello Post author

    Carrie – I tried those links/what you sent multiple times in three different browsers, and none worked. If you want to re-send them I’d be happy to post them.

    And again – happy birthday/belated!

    1. Carrie @ Seductive Musings

      Hi bn100,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! I hope to have many more, LOL. And I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You write these posts, but don’t always get comments so you wonder if anyone read them, and if they did if they enjoyed them or not…so it’s always nice to know what anyone who reads it thinks.


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