Selfpublishing lesson: Free isn’t always a good choice

I have made no secret that I am waiting impatiently to find out my sales at Kobo and Overdrive. I am still waiting for the Overdrive sales, but I got my sales from Kobo  today. (At least for Sept-Oct.)  They were non existing, which made me upset.  I was pissed off and disappointed for a couple of hours and I almost e-mailed Publit, but I decided to wait.

When the first disappointment faded, I began thinking  about why my sales were so low.  And then I remembered that was the time when Kobo dragged its heels about raising the prices for a long time.  Maybe that had something to  do with it.  I followed the hunch and googled it.  I found  the answer in a comment to a blogpost from Smashwords:  As of July last year, Kobo didn’t report the sales of free e-books to Smashwords. And if they did that to one distributor, maybe they did it to Publit too.  If you use Kobo Writing Life, you will be able to see the how many people have downloaded your free book.

If I wish I had known this in August 2014? Yes. If I had known, I would never have put my books for free.

It also means that in the future none my books will be available for free. Yes, I know that free is a good marketing tool if you have a limited budget but right now I need to know how the price adjustment impacted the sales, how many people has downloaded Exile.  Right now, I have just a Kobo ranking, but I don’t have any idea of how many downloads it represent. 2, 10,30? It could be any of those numbers.  I am glad that I have kept an eye on the ranking though, so I know that I *have* sold some copies.  If I hadn’t and recieved the same information I would have been devastated.