SFFMP 119: Surveying Readers, Instafreebie, and Tips for Multi-Author Promotions with C. Gockel

This week, we brought back Carolynn Gockel, author of the I Bring the Fire urban fantasy series and the Archangel Project science fiction trilogy, for a third time. She publishes a book about every 7 months and is making a nice full-time living as an author because she’s very proactive with marketing her work, and she’s participating in a lot of multi-author boxed sets and anthologies, as well as joint author promotional efforts. We asked her about what’s working well for marketing right now and also about surveying readers for useful information.

Here are a few more specifics:

  • Straddling KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited and “wide” — Carolynn has one series exclusive with Amazon and one series available in all the stores.
  • Surveying readers for information useful in writing and marketing.
  • She uses Survey Monkey for her surveys (they have a free version, though it’s limited so she pays the monthly fee for the months she wants to run some).
  • Asking fellow authors in similar genres to survey their readers (she sets it all up and uses her SM account) to get more data.
  • Carolynn continues to find putting together multi-author anthologies and boxed sets to be valuable — she makes money doing it and also gets a lot of new readers checking out her books.
  • Why she does a mix of free and 99-cent anthologies and boxed sets, and why she’s also done some specifically targeting Kindle Unlimited readers.
  • Her thoughts on collections of original material versus putting in older books.
  • What a new author needs to have to be considered for a multi-author boxed set by folks experienced at putting them together.
  • Getting into swapping book announcements with other authors with good-sized mailing lists.
  • The pros and cons of using Instafreebie for giving away books and building a mailing list.
  • Which types of anthologies Bookbub will possibly accept and run.

You can visit Carolynn on her website or check out her books on Amazon and (for the I Bring the Fire series) all the other vendors. Her latest release, Heretic, is available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

You can also listen to her previous shows here:

SFFMP 19: Making Books Permafree, Where to Buy Sponsorships, and Tumblr with C. Gockel

SFFMP 62: Anthologies, New Covers, and Creating Boxed Sets to Increase Sales with C. Gockel



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  • CF Shifflett II

    Hi all,

    I’m was confused by some of the terminology used in today’s show. Perhaps you could tell me what the difference is between a 3D cover and a flat cover.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  • Abigail


    I have a question for future shows, or if it’s been answered before, could you point me toward the previous cast? 🙂

    It’s this: I know the money is in novel series, but say you have some sci-fi/fantasy type short stories anyway and you want to bundle them and sell them as a collection. What total wordcount do you think is good for this? Between 40k and 60k? Shorter? Given novels run from 40k to 100k or longer.

    Thanks in advance!

    • SFFpodcast

      Hey, Abigail! We’ve talked a bit about short stories in the past, but I don’t remember which episode might address that. If you want to sell the bundle for 2.99, it’s probably a good idea to do 30K+. Just for me, I usually don’t charge 2.99 unless I write something over 40K, so that would be my personal cut-off, but you can certainly sell shorter works for that. Less than 2.99, and you don’t get the 70% royalty, so the sales are worth a lot less.

  • I really appreciated Carolynn’s insights on surveying your readers, and on managing a mailing list. I built my mailing list through instaFreebie, beginning late last August. I have found that multi-author promos are the way to build a mailing list via IF. I don’t do separate lists for IF vs website signups. I just launched the first book in my first series on January 31-before that, website signups were few and far better, but now are happening daily, so I may do as she suggested.

    I have found that IF results in a pretty engaged subscriber list–certainly the mailing list was crucial in getting Empowered: Agent off to a decent start.

    Thanks again for another informative episode!