Perma-free is a controversial method of getting your work out there, but it still works as a promo tool for some, especially if you have a series of books. I will not be discussing here whether it’s a good or bad thing to do; but if you do decide to do it, here’s how. I just did these steps, so I know they work.
Step one, of course, is to ensure your book is free elsewhere. This one remains the same as always, and has been described countless times. Just to refresh your memory: use Smashwords. Even if you have publisher accounts on Nook or iTunes already, these won’t let you set up a price of zero. Only Smashwords can do that for all channels – as far as I know (still not sure about Draft2Digital). Kobo is the only publisher that lets you set up a perma-free book directly, and that will come useful later, but Amazon doesn’t see Kobo as as much of a competitor as Nook or iTunes in US, so that alone may not always work.
All your other books, you can sell directly through retailers, if you so wish. But the book you want perma-free, has to be distributed through Smashwords (or equivalent).
Once you’re sure your book is free on as many other stores as possible, you have to inform Amazon. The old way was to simply get your friends to report the price match from the book page, through the “tell us about lower price” link. But this no longer works as well as it used to. In fact, it didn’t work for me at all. I waited and waited, and the price remained stubbornly as it was – until I’ve discovered the truth. So here’s what’s changed: right now, the best and most reliable way to ensure your book is price-matched to other retailers, is to write Amazon a letter.
Log in to your KDP account, click Help, then Contact Us. From the list of topics, choose Price Matching. Fill out the form with the following information: your book’s Amazon info (title, link, ASIN), and all the channels where your book is currently free that need matching to.
The turn-around on this is almost immediate – for the main Amazon regions at least (see below) – as opposed to the “Tell Us” button. A day or so later, your book will be price-matched – plus, you get an e-mail confirmation, which is always nice. But there’s a trick to it. Amazon now wants you to inform it of EVERY COUNTRY your book is free in, to match it to its own regional stores. Linking only to .com versions of the retailers will only match your book on Amazon.com.
This isn’t easy, since some stores don’t have regional versions, so I had to do some digging. I used the following list of links to make sure I covered all possible regions for “The Shadow of Black Wings”:
- CO.UK retailers:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-shadow-of-black-wings/id945143265?mt=11
Nook – http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/the-shadow-of-black-wings-by-james-calbraith/2940046477672
- CA retailer:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-shadow-of-black-wings/id945143265?mt=11
- AUS retailer:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-shadow-of-black-wings/id945143265?mt=11
- DE retailer:
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.de/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=UAh85UlSKkapoieWtbdiAQ&r=8
- FR retailer:
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.fr/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=Wwb3huZZg0WZSG9aOgfKcA&r=8
- ES retailer:
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.es/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=YGCTt0QMb0-NT9RgqHskLw&r=8
- IT retailer:
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.it/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=bYZyGFJ-bUWWkyD_y_fOkg&r=8
- BR retailer:
Kobo – http://ptbr.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=HYp0pFOAqUSkuNUGSE72uA&r=8
- NL retailer:
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.nl/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-2jtJT7jeGk-nysZOCsNl-w/page1.html?s=qskheb2xV0y-EI0wzEhtwQ&r=8
- JA retailer:
Rakuten Kobo – http://rakuten.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Shadow-of-Black-Wings/book-vr-zFZeGBkqZ4IUSo_c87A/page1.html?s=SCRCxP8HZUK1grnKzELWpQ&r=4
- MX retailer:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/mx/book/the-shadow-of-black-wings/id945143265?mt=11
Just search for your own book at each of these links, and you will have the contents for the letter ready. Click send, wait no more than a few days for a reply, check if the books are really free everywhere you wanted them (you may need to clear cache or view in incognito mode to see the change) – and start promoting! 🙂