Isn’t that the aim of offering free stuff? Many writers have adopted that method of promotion: offer free books in the hopes that the reader is hooked enough to pay for future products. It’s a great marketing strategy. But there is also the flip side.
For a year I received a monthly coupon from Victoria Secret for one free underwear and ten dollars discount on any bra. I know their aim was to get me into the store and shopping. But instead, just got my free panty and left without purchasing anything. From my myopic standpoint, I would say they invested more than they got in return. But it could have been worst.
There was a running joke about the Washington Red Skins some time back. They had been(and probably still is) having a bad decade. A man holding Red Skins tickets parked his unlocked car in a high crime area and placed two Red Skins tickets on the dash board with the hopes of being robbed. When he returned to the car, there were two more Red Skins tickets sitting on the dashboard. The moral of the joke: some things are so bad, they wouldn’t even sell for free.
That is unfortunately the reality for some writers (not all) who offer their short stories free as ebooks. Not that these books are not downloaded, but they are simply not read past the first page. Unfortunately for those authors, their names become associated with a bad product. And then there are those whose free books are read, but they still see no increase in sales. So how can we make offering freebies work for us?
I’m gonna give a few tips. But there are people following this blog who have much more experience in that arena than I do, so I’m inviting you to add your two cents.
1. Generate interest: Make sure the book title, cover, and first few pages can grab the readers’ interest
2. Use the free book offer approach for the first book of a series and ensure the characters are interesting enough for readers to salivate for more of their actions
3. Instead of the whole book free, 1st chapters preview is an excellent mechanism for getting readers hooked. I’ve bought several books after reading the free Ist chapter preview because I just wanted to find out what happened next. Some did not disappoint, others are still shelved, unread past those first chapters.
4. Have a mechanism in place for readers to give you honest open feedback on the free books/book chapters you offer
5. Never underestimate the power of contests.
Now I haven’t exhausted the list of tips, and I know there are much more ways to make offering freebies work for you. I know I can speak for many of the Novelspaces authors when I say this, “Please share your ideas on how to make offering freebies work for you.”