So it’s over! My five day giveaway has come to an end, and downloading has gone quite well. Well enough for The Future King: Logres to shift up a spot and make it to number five in the free Arthurian charts on Amazon (see below)! Now that it’s no longer available for free, it’s been removed from the charts temporarily, and will probably be slotted back in much lower down until the paid sales start to trickle in.
Giving away your work for free isn’t something that is instinctive, and given the amount of work and time that goes into producing a self-published book it is compelling to have readers actually buy your book, especially after launch. You’ve got to earn back all those hours spent working for nothing but the love of your craft somehow. However, the reality is that a reader is more likely to give less for the work of a complete unknown than someone with an established track record, so despite any reservations I had it suddenly seemed instinctive to take the plunge and give my ebook away for free.
The whole five day thing worked out well (Amazon allows you to supply your ebook for free for a maximum of 5 days out of every 90 days), as it gave me time to build up momentum and get word around. Despite my modest social media following I managed to top 260 downloads, which quite honestly is many more than I was expecting.
If you’re in the same boat as me and you’re considering promoting your book (particularly if you’re about to or have just released it), then I would definitely recommend offering it for free for a short period. Obviously I’ve yet to see what number of reviews my giveaway will ultimately produce, but the more people who read an unknown book (and hopefully like it) the better – it should result in increased circulation and future sales.
If you are considering a free giveaway with zero budget I suggest the following:
- Prepare some eye-catching graphics that you can present across all your social media channels, a new one each day with a similar look and feel – sort of an e-flyer.
- If you have WordPress or a Facebook page, spend an afternoon preparing all your promo material and schedule your posts in advance – they’ll appear when you want them to and will give you more time on the day itself for actual book promotion.
- Ask your friends and family to reblog/share your posts to their friend networks – the more eyes that see your free ebook giveaway the better.
- Make use of the Goodreads website (or equivalent). I’ve only recently joined Goodreads myself, but there are thousands of members on there who are all looking for their next read – and they all appreciate a free book! Spend time posting in forums to build up your contacts, but more specifically look for groups that have specific threads where you’re encouraged to post news of your new book or free giveaway – I did this and it really helped circulate my ebook and gave me a boost on downloads.
- If you are on Goodreads you can create an event on your author page (good idea to set one up – just add your self-published book to the site, then declare that you are the author through your regular account – Goodreads will merge your account with your author account for you) and invite your friends. Send out as many invitations as you can, because the people you invite can also invite others to attend the event, maximising exposure.
- Don’t let things rest for too long. If you’re running your promo for multiple days, advertise, share and keep posting on every single one of those days. Don’t have a day off. Eventually your deal will get noticed by people outside of your regular friend sphere, and someone might be kind enough to share it.
- Make your offer very clear with exact start and end times, along with instructions on how use the offer. I found that a lot of people were having problems with the Amazon extensions. I was supplying a UK link, which meant that US or French customers couldn’t get the book for free because they were trying to make a purchase through the UK link. In the end I linked to those regions as well and detailed how to find the book when using a different Amazon site (you just change the site extension to your relevant region – e.g. .fr or .com).
Now that the free ebook promotion is over, I’m going to take a short break to a) apply to jobs, and b) continue with my other projects. Book promotion will have to be ongoing, but part of it is now a waiting game to see how those 260+ readers will take to TFK Logres and what sort of reviews they will leave (assuming everyone reads it!). I am hoping of course that they will love it enough to share it, but time will tell, so in the meantime I shall keep my head down and perhaps get back into writing book 2 instead.
Now to end with some more promotion as per my own advice. Though the 5 day deal has ended subscribers of Kindle Unlimited can still pick up TFK Logres for free, whilst it is now also listed at its regular price of £3.99. Still a steal for a 517 page book, no?