Tag Archives: building a reader base

To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs to have a reason to want to invest their money in your book.

Possibly one of the more appealings ways to an author is the free sample chapters.  However you get that out there, through posting them on social media, allowing partial sample downloads on Smashwords, or ther means.  Free samples let the reader get sucked into the story, and just as they get hooked they are cut off with no option except to stop there or get your book.

I see offering books free as a marketing tool.  Companies do it with other types of products all the time, offering try me samples in the hope you will love it enought to buy it.  The buy one-get one free offer.  Buy that and we’ll toss this in with it.  Get one month free.  Even the grocery stores get in on the action with their free sample days.  These are all teasers to encourage you to buy or try their product.

If there is one thing everyone loves, it is getting something for free.

How many books have you passed over buying because you didn’t know if you would like the author?  The write up on the back cover looks good, the cover art is enticing, but you just don’t know.  So you decide instead to buy that new book by the author you love.

This does not mean you have to give it away free forever.  Offer it free for a limited time. With so many companies marketing other products by this method, it must work.  Otherwise, they would invest that marketing money in other ways to market their products.  You can always offer it free again if it suits your needs.

You can also offer limited time coupon codes so that those who get the code can read it free while others have to purchase it.  Coupon codes can be used in a targeted marketing campaign.  For example, let’s say you are publishing a humor book suitable for grade school kids about survival while camping with scout groups.  Offer the coupon code to your local scout groups, giving the kids the eBook free.  If they read it and love it, they’ll tell their friends about it.  Target book clubs for your genre.  If your book is about gardening, offer the coupon code for free limited time download of your book to a few garden clubs.

Knowing they got something free that others have to pay for makes people feel special.  They feel like they got a prize, they feel superior, they feel a small sense of empowerment.  They feel like they matter just a little bit more.  They feel like someone cares.  Each feels special in a different way, depending on their personality.  It doesn’t matter how they feel special, you made them feel that way and they like you more for it.

The hardest part of selling books is getting readers to know it exists. If free offers help, then it is worth it.  The first job of selling your book is getting someone to read it.  If you did your job right in writing the book, then they will do your second job for you – getting them to talk about it.

People talk about books and share information on them for three reasons:

(1) They loved it,

(2) They found it controversial and it got their blood boiling,

(3) They hated it.

Nobody talks about the book that isn’t noteworthy.  They also won’t talk about it if they haven’t read it or even heard of it.  If they loved it, they will talk about it, and they also will want to read more.

Another way to get free samples of your work into your potential readers’ hands is short stories.  Offer short stories for free eBook download.  Blog them, Facebook them, share them.

Consider this:  work together with another author who writes similar stories in the same genre.  You both offer a free short story written by the other with the purchase of your book.  Both authors have a vested interest in promoting the books, one to earn the royalties and the other to get their reader audience to grow through the free short story.

Always remember to plug your other work.  Whether a book or a short story, free or for a price, always remember to include a plug for other published work that is available.

Every piece has to be your best.  Whether free or not, a 100 word flash fiction or 150,000 novel; every bit of writing you put out there needs to be good.  Advertising yourself with mediocre short stories will not increase your readership.

However you choose to market your work, the goal is the same – getting potential readers and buyers to notice you in a sea of possible authors.

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

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Filed under How To, L.V. Gaudet, marketing, writing

AS A WRITER, WHERE AND HOW ARE YOU DROPPING YOUR PEBBLES?

Sia McKye

I’m a reflective person by nature. I think about many things in life. Look for lessons and ways to make things better for me and mine. To me life is like a giant puzzle made of pebbles. Sometimes it’s comprised of hard labor. Other times, the fun is in seeing how to work all the pieces tossed at us, and make a picture of it. Don’t like those particular pieces, rearrange them. I’m also an optimist but with my feet firmly planted in reality. I know if I work at it hard enough, think it through, I’ll find a way. And so it is with my writing.

To be a writer is rather solitary. We pour our hearts and souls into our writing–our characters, our created world. They’re part of us, aren’t they? When someone rejects that, of course we feel it AND feel they’re rejecting us. On one level that’s true, but we have to learn to compartmentalize, or we’re dead in the water. We have to have tough Rhino skin or we’re not going to survive. And yeah, it sucks.

As with most of the entertainment/arts groups, publishing is a tough playing field to break into. A key element in being a success in any field, is focus, working at perfecting your skills, and believing in yourself and your abilities.

I think about authors like Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Catherine Coulter. They all started out with Harlequin and or Silhouette. Many curled their lips at books from Harlequin. Whether it’s a lightweight romance publisher, or POD and E-book publishers—who cares where you start, so long as you start? I believe these authors honed their story telling skills and learned what readers like and didn’t like, and built a readership base in these forums. And who are we to curl our lips, or diminish the worth of an author that makes those choices? Now, these authors are now regularly on the Best Sellers lists.

Singers start out playing local, market themselves aggressively, and get their names out there. How? Singers play for anyone that lets them sing. Bars, lounges, you name it. Actors do the same with local theater, and work their way up. They network like crazy. Are you doing that as a writer?

Pebble in the pool effect. Think about American idol. These singers are looking for shortcuts and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but even the shortcuts come with fierce competition. As authors, we do contests too, so we can relate.

What’s important here is: if the pebble isn’t first dropped into a pool of water, no ripples happen. The pebble has to be dropped more than once. It’s the same with writing. Every time you write a story, you drop a pebble and every time you query, or enter a contest, you drop another one. Every blog, writer’s conference, and joining a writing group is another pebble.

Maybe only a few of us will make it big. The truth of the matter is; it’s not solely dependent upon talent. There are lots of talented people. Sometimes chance or fate or whatever you want to call it, steps in. But, if we’re not putting forth the effort, and getting our writing, and our name out there, it can’t be offered.

There’s a quote I like and I’ll share it with you. “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.”

…or dropping the pebbles.

It’s something I think about frequently—what am I doing with my pebbles?

Am I stacking them in a pile with no work or thought given them?
Am I hoarding them in a drawer where no one can see them?
Am I allowing fear of success or failure, hold me back?

By putting our work out there, we’re on the dance floor or to continue the metaphor, dropping our pebbles.

As a writer, where and how are you dropping your pebbles?

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