This is the first in a series on marketing.
That got your attention. Everyone likes free stuff, but authors hate giving away their work. I saw one writer get visibly upset when she saw me give away a book. I get it. Writing is hard work and most authors want to make a living telling stories. However, when you are just starting out, you need to invest in marketing your book.
Giving away free stuff is Marketing 101.
How many times has a retailer lured you in with BOGO offers or deeply discounted products (“loss leaders”)? They do it all the time, every day. It’s hard to see your book as a product, but you’re on the hunt for readers, right? Readers are your customer, and your book is your product.
I’m not saying you should give away all your books for free all the time. It should be part of an overall marketing plan. Free book contests. Donate them to local libraries. Have you ever see those little community book exchanges in parks and other locations? Keep copies in your car. You never know when the opportunity may arrive to give out your book, free or otherwise.
Running sales, just as all other businesses do, should also be part of your plans. Once you have multiple books published, deeply discounting the first — or making it free — gives a no-risk invitation to new readers.
Giving away your books shouldn’t be the only freebie in your arsenal. Think about what other free content you can give out such as excerpts of your books, or short stories set in the same storyverse. Consider putting these together in a low cost book format (paper or electronic) and give them out at events or on-line even to those who haven’t bought your book (especially to people who haven’t bought your book).
As authors, we don’t see ourselves merely as a business, or our readers as customers. We are looking for a deeper connection (and we will get into all that in future posts). Ultimately, getting your book out there requires a business mindset.
Most importantly, keep telling stories. Don’t stop until you Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.