Here are the top 5 articles on publishing, self-publishing and everything books from the past week.

1. Who Moved My Cheese?

Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, had an article in Publisher’s Weekly touting the benefits of giving away free ebooks as a marketing strategy. He believes free ebooks helps an author build awareness and trust with readers. He says, “It’s like trying a free sample of cheese at the grocery store. You try it because it’s free and you like cheese. Once you taste something you love, you want more of it. Some percentage of the tasters become paying customers. Unlike with sample bites of food, readers must sample your entire book to appreciate the full flavor of your luscious literary genius. Partial samples are inadequate. Give them a free meal and then hook them with your awesome sauce.”

Some of the stats he shared:

  • Free e-books get 41 times more downloads on average than other e-books.
  • Free works especially well for series starters. At Smashwords, series in which the first book is free earn authors about 67% more income on average than other series.
  • Longer freebies work better than shorter freebies because the longer the book, the more trust-building time the reader spends immersed in your writing.

It’s a good article. Read it here.

2. Beefcake or Bust

The New York Times ran an article this week on the booming romance novel market and how it’s impacting male cover models. No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. The takeaway: male models are in demand but still can’t make a living from their profession. Romance authors, on the other hand, are raking it in. “How hot are romance novels? Over all, annual sales totaled $1.08 billion in 2013, according to the Romance Writers of America, which tracks sales. And their popularity is expected to grow.”

3. The Hunt is On

Product Hunt, the well-respected site that curates the best new products now has a collection for “spectacular writing tools“. You can up-vote tools you use and love and follow the list to discover new tools to help you with your writing craft. Have at it.

4. Never take No for an Answer

J.K. Rowling shared a number of her rejection letters on Twitter this week saying “I pinned my 1st rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!,” She also shared that the same publisher who rejected Harry Potter also sent Robert Galbraith (one of her pseudonyms) his rudest rejection letter. Some people never learn.

5. Have you heard the one about…

Authors and publishers are getting their giggle on today with various April Fool’s stories. Ryan Casey posted a thread on Kboards  about the new KDP Plus that will cost $29.99 per month and give authors 90% royalties on books sold. Foyles bookstore announced the engagement of its first fully automated employee, Bookseller2000, an artificially intelligent hologram which has the accumulated literary knowledge more than 100 human booksellers. Harlequin UK announced a new series of coloring books for adults that will consist of 48 specially-designed blank pages for adults to color using whatever materials they prefer. And President Obama and Donald Trump held a joint press conference to praise the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the independent author community.

Missed last week’s Friday Five? Catch up on indie author news here.

Have an article you think we should include? Tweet us @WrittenWordM with your links.


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