The Free Dilemma

Leon Stevens
3 min readMar 26, 2022


I wanted to get my new poetry book released by April, to coincide with National Poetry Month. After some formatting issues for the KOBO platform, I decided to put it on the backburner to take advantage of the promotional opportunities of . . . [ sigh] KDP.

Considering that the platform-that-must-not-be-named accounts for 80% of eBook sales, it was a no-brainer.

Now, the question is: Do I give away the book for free? What is that advantage? If enough get “sold”, it can put the book into the top 10 best sellers, which means, the mysterious Amaz-(oops) algorithm starts to place it more predominantly. Using my handy KDP Rocket program tells me if I sell 13 in a day, that will put it in the #1 spot in the Contemporary Poetry category. 75 will be required in the general poetry category.

To put that in perspective, if the book was a romance then I would need 7000/day. That’s a competitive category! Then, hopefully, after the free promo is over, the book will remain visible, and people will also decide to buy one of my other books.

The next dilemma is how much to spend to give my book away. The advertising behemoth is BookBub with a huge reach, but with a huge price tag. I have looked at using BookBub before but the cost always makes me shy away. It’s hard to fork out $600+ for a one day email feature. Other authors say that it has paid off for them, or at least they break even, but I just can’t do it.

Instead, I’ve done some research and am going with several less expensive options.

Stay tuned.

From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday March 25: In Conversation with Anne Mortensen
Thursday Thoughts: Don’t let sleeping dogs lie. — Dogs is funny.
Music Monday: Songs you might want to hear — You’re late. Whaahappen? — A last minute choice: Metric

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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Originally published at on March 26, 2022.



Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education.