Posts Tagged ‘give away free books’

january tip of day

January 16 Book Marketing Tip: Use GoodReads AND LibraryThing to give away free books!

I love generous bloggers, and there are some mighty giving people out there. This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s – about the power of giving away your book to build your platform, brand, and readership. Today, I’m excerpting two blogs from authors who’ve successfully used GoodReads and LibraryThing to offer free giveaways. These ladies describe in detail how to create a successful giveaway on each of these platforms, so please be sure to follow the links and read their complete posts.


First, Emlyn Chand writes for Novel Publicity & Co. a post titled “How to run a GoodReads giveaway with maximal results: 11 tips we know you’ll need.”

I’m going to give you the shorthand version of Emlyn’s 11 tips – but again, be sure to go read the whole post. She offers links to posts explaining about how to create your GoodReads Author Profile, which you must do before you offer a giveaway. She then describes her own research and provides a detailed spreadsheet comparing the results on her various giveaway days. She also offers a link to her giveaway description for you to model.

1. You only need to offer one copy.

2. Let readers know you’ll be providing an autographed copy.

3. End your giveaway on a non-popular date.

4. More countries = more exposure.

5. Make your giveaway description compelling.

6. Reach out to winners.

7. Send books promptly.

8. Pulse your giveaway lengths.

9. Schedule your giveaways to start in the future.

10. Book covers count. Back cover copy counts. Ahem – I feel vindicated for my book cover posts already. 🙂

11. How to become a “Popular Author.”


Next up, Shelley Hitz writes for The Future of Ink a post titled “How to Conduct a LibraryThing eBook Giveaway.”

She describes the criteria for offering a giveaway via LibraryThing and explains how to become a LibraryThing author. Next she details how to conduct a LibraryThing giveaway, offering these tips about writing your description:

In my giveaway description I made sure to let readers know these  three things:

  1. How the eBook would be delivered
  2. The type of book I was offering so I could attract my target audience
  3. That I was conducting the giveaway in order to get more reviews  online

Like Emlyn, Shelley provides a copy of her description for you to model. She finishes up by revealing her results. Please be sure to go read the complete post to get the most from her knowledge.

Do you have success stories or lessons to share about GoodReads and/or LibraryThing giveaways? Please share them in a private message or in the comment section below!

Here’s to more freebies!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements:

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january tip of day

January 15 Book Marketing Tip: Get over your fear of giving away free copies of your book!

More than a dozen years ago, I heard (or read) Seth Godin say that an author needed to give away at least ideavirus5,000 copies of his or her book in order for the book to get enough traction to really take off. At the time, that sounded cavalier and unrealistic. Why would any author who intended to sell books give away so many of them? We weren’t nearly as conditioned to the idea as we are today, and yet many authors still resist the idea of giving books away.

But then Godin went on to prove his thesis by giving away more than 3 million copies of his third book, Unleashing the Ideavirus. According to Wikipedia (I know – take the info there with a grain of salt), Unleashing the Ideaviris may be the most downloaded book in the history of downloadable books. Since its original publication in 2000 as a free eBook, it has been published in both hard cover and paperback form, has been translated into at least 10 languages, and still retains a healthy Amazon ranking of #448,407 out of the millions of titles they carry.

Of vastly more importance than his Amazon ranking, though, is the fact that Unleashing the Ideavirus put Godin on the map as a marketer, garnering him speaking gigs and international acclaim. I’m not suggesting that giving your book away will do the same for you – but it can be a big boost in terms of growing your platform, which may ultimately translate into more sales and bigger renown for you as an author.

My original thought was to write a post about the value of giving away copies of your book – but I realized the topic’s already been well covered. So here is an aggregate of posts on the topic. Each has a slightly different take – so I’ve highlighted what I consider the best point of each post.

Why Giving Away Thousands of Free Books Is a Good Thing

The following is the introduction to a guest post by Tony James Slater on David Gaughran’s blog, Let’s Get Visible.

This post is a testament to the power of determination, and proof that even the most niche of books can be a self-publishing success story, a book that every agent in the UK said there was no market for.


Tony was willing to try a bit of everything, including dressing his poor mother up in a bear suit, his sister in a giant pair of cardboard underpants, and forcing them both to hand out fliers in front of Waterstones to promote his e-book, That Bear Ate My Pants.

book giveaway

Giving Away Free Copies of Your Book as a Promotional Tool

Author Jody Hedlund details the ways giving away free copies of her book helped her sell more books. She offers specific advice about how many books to give away, whom to give them to, and when to do these giveaways.

Initially, I didn’t want to give away free copies, especially to my closest friends and family because they were among the few I knew would actually go out and purchase my book without arm-twisting.

But over the past year, I’ve realized I was wrong. My sales didn’t go down through the distribution of free books. In fact, they went up. The people who received my book for free helped promote it through Amazon reviews, blog write-ups, interviews, and numerous other ways. Their promotion helped carry the news and excitement about my book beyond the scope of my personal reach.

Why You Should Give Away Free Copies of Your Ebook

These tips will perhaps benefit nonfiction authors more than fiction authors. Ways to give use free copies to build buzz and get readers talking about your book:

  • Get people to sign up for your mailing list
  • Impress business prospects
  • Send to bloggers
  • Send to media professionals
  • Conduct a contest and give copies away to winners
  • Offer as a bonus with purchase of another product or service
  • Offer as a bonus that others can give away with their products and services
  • Distribute to the audience at speaking engagements

If you’re thinking that this strategy is going to cut into your revenues, then consider this: the real money in publishing isn’t in the book sales. The real money is in the business you generate as a result of your book.

book giveaway

Why Successful Authors Are Giving Their Books Away for Free

Great information about how Hugh Howey (bestselling author), John Dumas (top-ranking podcaster), and Danny Iny (profitable entrepreneur) have a habit of giving their books away for free.

Why do some authors offer free books? First, because they can. This option, which would have not been practical two decades ago, has become feasible thanks to self publishing and the rise of digital books. Self-published authors typically earn higher royalties, plus incur no costs when an ebook is sold.

Second, authors’ generosity is often reciprocated by a myriad of benefits. In addition to enjoying more readers (and thus more word-of-mouth marketing), authors who give their books away for free or at low costs frequently enjoy deeper customer relationships, more reviews, more sales of print books and increased sales of related books, products and services.

How Booktrope Turned a Free Ebook Into a Bestseller

Tess Thompson has sold 90,000 copies of Riversong, which is remarkable. What’s more remarkable is that she’s also given away 250,000 free downloads.

Some people may look at those quarter-million free downloads and think Thompson and Booktrope are letting revenue slip through their fingers. To that response, Katherine Sears, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Booktrope asks, “Did we lose 250,000 sales or gain 250,000 fans?” Booktrope equates those give-aways to 250,000 advertising impressions.

“As a new author in a sea of books it’s almost impossible get noticed by readers,” said Thompson, “Making Riversong free was a way for us to entice readers to give my work a chance hoping that once they read the first in the series they would come back for more.” Riversong rose to the number one free book on Amazon the day it was made free. That high download rate, said Thompson, “translated to sales the very next week.”


The Book Marketing Strategy Every Author Must Implement

Here are the steps you need to take in order to make [your giveaway] the best it can be:

1. Personalize every book. Sure, it’s a little time consuming, but this really shows you took some time and consideration to the person on the receiving end. It is always a WOWing experience to receive a surprise package containing a free personalized book.

2. Include a letter in every package. Write a simple letter expressing gratitude to the recipient. Be sure to sign it by hand. You can send the same letter to everyone, but be sure to write the actual name of each person in the salutation.

3. Ask each recipient to take a specific action. Do NOT be afraid of this one! Most people are happy to take a couple minutes and do any of the following examples:

  • Ask them to leave an Amazon or any other kind of online review, good or bad.
  • Ask them to tweet a picture of the book (or post it to Facebook).
  • Tell them where and how they can get additional copies for friends.

Just be sure not to go overboard and ask to do TOO much. It is best to stick with one action.

4. Get creative. Always ask yourself what one more thing you could do to make this an incredible experience for the person on the receiving end.

Giving It Away: Why Fiction Authors Should Offer Free Ebooks 

Earning money isn’t your biggest problem. If you’re connected with enough people who enjoy your work, then it’s almost impossible to not make a living.


When you’re just starting out, you’ll have no idea if your fiction resonates with anyone. Consider sharing your first story for free to find out.

Strategic Ways to Give Away Books

Another post by Jody Hedlund, this one talks about the distinction between review copies and ARCs, as well as offering great info about giving books away as prizes.

Another way to generate enthusiasm for a book, especially around release time, is to offer copies of the book as prizes. I’ve done giveaways on my own blog by having readers answer trivia questions about easy historical issues that relate to my release. Other times, I’ve given away books as part of reader appreciation posts. Most of the time, I do giveaways on other blogs that host me for an interview, review, or guest post.  

What are your experiences or opinions about free giveaways? Please share them in a private message or in the comment section below!

Here’s to freebies!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


Want a professional book cover that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg? Visit our website to Template 5peruse our selection of 25 book cover templates, and download our complimentary special report, “Book Elements:

Read Full Post »

Professional EDITING: It’s essential to your marketing success!

Yep, I’m a professional editor, and as such, I’ve always advocated that authors hire the best editor they can afford. But in this advice, I have more than my own self-interest at heart. Here’s the thing: it’s estimated that a person browsing a brick-and-mortar bookstore (a building where piles of books are available for sale to people who drive there in cars) will spend about 8 seconds looking at the front cover of a book they pull off a shelf and 14 seconds on the back cover. Provided the cover is enough to stimulate their interest, what’s the next step? They OPEN the book! And READ the words. So if your words are garbled, your grammar poor, or your text mistake-riddled, that person’s probably going to plop the book back on the shelf and keep browsing.

A good cover will get someone to open the book,
but the words are what sell it.

Now let’s extrapolate to the eBookstore. In ePublishing, the buyer often sees only a thumbnail of the cover before they’re taken straight to the sample chapter. In this case, there’s no 22-second marketing plug from the cover. The entire onus is on the words themselves. And if the words themselves aren’t polished and professional, people will stop reading and won’t buy your book.

What’s worse, they won’t recommend it – and may write a bad review about it.


I recently downloaded a free book called Dying to Get Published byJudy Fitzwater. This is the opening paragraph:

The jail cell was cold. Cold and gray and ugly. Jennifer ran her hands through her long, taffy-brown hair and sank wistfully against the wall. The chill reached through her sweater and embraced her shoulders. She shot straight up on the backless bench and shivered. She felt as though something were crawling down her back, something with many legs, but she knew it was her imagination. She prayed it was her imagination.

I’m not kidding – I haven’t altered a word. In her attempt to be descriptive, this author WAY overused the adjectives and adverbs. My first thought was, “Ohhh, nooo. It’s going to be that kind of a book.” Nevertheless, I decided to give it a chance and kept reading for a bit. Then I came to these sentences:

Your dad is a famous astronaut. He’s on the first manned flight to mars and won’t be back for three years.

Seriously. If Ms. Fitzwater couldn’t do me the service of even proofreading her book – let alone editing it – I definitely don’t owe her the service of reading it.

But it’s a FREE book, what do you expect? I can hear the arguments now. So let me ask you a question: What is the entire point of giving away books for free?

Promoting the author’s work, right? The goal, therefore, is to create enough interest so that people will buy their other books, recommend them to friends, and write positive reviews. How is that possible if the author didn’t make the free book as good as one he or she charges for? Dying to Get Published is a terrible book. If it’s in any way autobiographical, I can tell the author right now, a good place to start is with some quality editing!

For most bad books, it might end there; in this author’s case, I happened to have her book on hand to use as an example to you, my author friends.

Point of caution: DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR READERS!

Why does editing matter? Because it can turn a hum-drum manuscript into a book people will not only want to read, but want to recommend. And some of the best marketing for an author is word-of-mouth marketing.

Here’s how I might have rewritten the opening paragraph of Dying to Get Published:

Jennifer slumped against the wall of the ugly, gray jail cell. The chill reached through her sweater, embracing her shoulders as she combed her hands through her hair. Suddenly, she felt the shivery sensation of a many-legged critter crawling down her back. Jennifer bolted upright, knowing the bug was just her imagination – praying it was her imagination.

Notice we went from 72 words to 57 words – that’s a conservation of 15 words, and it’s much more fluid and easier to read.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • What’s the point of repeating the word cold? Unless the coldness is important to the story (it’s not), this is utterly unnecessary.
  • Next – it’s the first paragraph; we have plenty of time to get to the long, taffy-brown description of the hair. Is it germane to the meaning of the opening paragraph? If not, lose it.
  • The backless bench? It’s a jail cell – most people have an idea of what a jail cell looks like. Unless this one’s special, no need to oversell the austerity of the scene.
  • Save the bulk of the words for the interesting aspect of the opening: the perhaps imaginary bugs crawling down Jennifer’s back.

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction – you’ll do your readers AND your sales a favor by spending what you can afford on a professional editor.



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


Visit our website to view/download your free eBook, The First-Time Author’s Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for YOU. If you’d like more information about our editing services, email us or call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376


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