How and Why to Give Away a Book for Free + Free Checklist

If I'd read this title a year ago, I would have said, "Give my book away? You're crazy!" But now, I'm happy to tell you that since I've listed my book for free, I've had an increase in overall sales. In fact, my book(s) have been downloaded every day since the launch of my free prequel, when previously, I'd go weeks with no activity. 

As a self-published writer, it can be tough to get your book visible to your audience. How many times have you seen the "buy my book!" on twitter? How many times have you posted on Facebook with only a 3 person audience reach? Not the most effective method, my friends. 

The truth is that social media doesn't sell books. You need a good, actionable strategy to get your book to the forefront. Now, let's get started! 

How to Give Away Your Book For Free | Blots & Plots.jpg

Why Should You Give Away a Book For Free? 

1. To generate interest in you. 

Pretty self-explanatory, right? If you're self-publishing, you have to view yourself as a risk. Because there is no built-in marketing team to generate buzz for you, readers are taking a chance by investing in your creative work. 

How do you get them to choose your book out of the million other books? A few ideas: 

  1. Great product. I'm talking an awesome cover, a professionally edited manuscript, and top notch formatting. 
  2. Great reviews. Reviews not only help to sway your potential reader, but they also help boost your books on the rankings. (Amazon, primarily.) 
  3. A super smart strategy. Yep, you guessed it. The free book idea. 

2. To generate interest in your other books. 

Congrats! Your reader downloaded your free book. Now, what? 

Maybe your reader will read your free book. Maybe she'll like it and explore your other books on her own. But what if she doesn't? What if she moves on to the next book, and accidentally forgets to check back to yours? 

You need to make sure you hook your reader in with a free book, and keep them coming back for more. Here's how: 

  • Offer a second free book/short story/etc. This technique comes from Nick Stephenson. If your reader signs up for your email list, they'll receive a second free book. For more information on this technique, head over here.
  • Create a hashtag for your book. Even though social media doesn't sell, a hashtag helps to unify your readers and create a community. 
  • Discount your second book. With the first book free, you can offer your second book at a lower-than-normal rate. This can be done with kindle countdown deals or a permanently lower rate. 

3. To reach a broader audience. 

Like I said, reaching an audience is no picnic. It takes strategy and a bit o' luck to get your books into the hands of your readers. Let's set you up for success, shall we? 

A few ideas on how to up your selling ante: 

  • Facebook ads. This form of advertising has proven to be extremely effective for authors. If you have a targeted campaign, you can reach your ideal reader. 
  • BookBub ads. Though it's tough to get approved for these, BookBub advertising is awesome. 
  • Write more books. Easier said than done, right? Having a library of books helps to keep readers coming back for more.

There you go! The end! But wait... how do you list your book for free? I've made you a fancy schmancy cheat sheet. Yes, schmancy is a word. Here you go, friend!