One of the most common questions when it comes to a  book launch – especially for authors who are self-publishing for the first time, is whether to offer a free promotion for a limited time on Amazon or price the book very cheap, at only 99 cents, but still, price it. Both options have advocates among authors and self-publishing experts. So, what is the best choice for you?

Laurence O’ Bryan, bestselling author and founder of, advocates launching your book- even if it is the first one at a low price such as 0.99 cents. Later, you can raise it at 2.99 USD which, according to O’Bryan,  will produce the highest long-term revenues on Amazon.  The pros for going the paid route during launch vary from psychological factors – people value more what they pay for than what they get for free, to the amount of money you can pocket from day one.  Having a street team and building excitement around the launch will make it easy to push sales.


  • You can make it on the paid bestsellers list.
  • Your sales during the launch promotion will count in Amazon ranking after the promotion days are over
  • You will make money from day one (that you will be able to invest in further marketing)
  • People will more likely read your book since they paid for it (it wasn’t completely free).
  • You can list your book on other platforms besides Amazon; more online retailers = more revenue streams


  • It’s harder to ask people for support when they  need to pay for the book
  • The book might become a best-seller in  smaller number of categories (than it would if it were free)
  • A lower number of downloads

Not few are those who advocate for offering your book for free during your launch. The goal is to become a bestseller in as many categories as possible, get an impressive amount of eyeballs and downloads, and generate reviews. The question is: can you call yourself a bestselling author when your book is listed for free? How do you know that people get your book because they are genuinely interested in it and not because they just need to grab all the free items they can get their hands on? How much will they invest in something they didn’t put any money into?


  • You can ask your 5000 friends on Facebook to download your book
  • You can become an instant bestselling author
  • You get lots of eyeballs
  • You will be able to call yourself a bestselling author


  • You need to go exclusively with Amazon and enroll in KDP select
  • You only get a limited number of days of free promotion during and for a minimum of three-month exclusivity with Amazon
  • You don’t make any money during the book launch time
  • Your downloads during the free promotion don’t count in the paid book chart
  • After the free promotion is over, you will need to push sales to make it to the bestseller list. More money invested in marketing.
  • You brand yourself as cheap
Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson

As you can see,  either way, you will need to put some money into marketing. One of the most popular methods is to advertise your book on book promotion sites. Save Bookbub for later – when you already have a pretty decent number of reviews and want to revitalize sales and try the cheaper options that are also friendlier to new authors. As Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur puts it, these book promotion sites are also a free advertisement for you.  By getting the clicks and downloads, your book will become more popular by the minute…and all you had to do was fill out a form.  It’s a win-win situation. If you are planning your book launch, have a look at Dave Chesson’s latest blog post on this topic. You can also download a detailed and updated PDF of the top free and paid book promotion websites, for free.

As a conclusion, although Amazon is the main sales generator for most indie authors, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in the same basket. The first impression matters even in the virtual world. Are you one of those authors who begs for attention no matter what, or you value yourself and your work enough to put a price on it? Nobody knows the answer better than you

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