SFFMP 145: Using eBook Giveaways to Grow Your Audience and Sell More Books

On today’s show, we were joined by Ashley and Maura from Instafreebie. If you haven’t heard about the service yet, it’s a spot where you can upload free ebooks (previews, short stories, and novellas are fine), and it makes it easy for potential readers to download them and load them on their e-readers. You also have the option of requiring readers to share their email addresses in order to download the ebooks, so it can be a way to start growing a mailing list. A lot of our previous guests have used the service, and many authors attest to its usefulness, especially in conjunction with multi-author promotions.

Here’s some of what we talked about on the show:

  • How Instafreebie works and how it differs from Bookfunnel, another service that can facilitate giving away ebooks.
  • Giving away books (such as series starters) versus giving away short stories or previews of novels.
  • Making sure to put your call to action (i.e. buy Book 2 in the series here!) in the back of the ebooks you give away.
  • Using Instafreebie (and collecting email addresses) versus making books free on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc.
  • Whether cliffhangers, at the ends of free novels or previews, work or if the readers are left irritated.
  • Using a drip campaign (or auto-responder) to reach out to readers after they’ve shared their email addresses.
  • Instafreebie’s recommendation engine and other ways to increase discoverability outside of what you do for promo.
  • Organizing a group giveaway and asking them for a plug (submit requests to production@instafreebie.com)
  • How newer authors can leverage Instafreebie to build a fan base when they don’t have a big social media presence or mailing list for driving traffic.
  • How books are chosen to be shared on the Instafreebie blog for extra promotion.

If you’re interested in signing up for their service, find it at Instafreebie.com.

 

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SFFMP 88: Using Free Ebooks to Grow Your Mailing List and Increase Readership with Bookfunnel’s Damon Courtney

We’re joined today by Damon J. Courtney, heroic fantasy author and the founder of Bookfunnel.com, a service that Jo and Lindsay use to distribute eARCs to readers and bonus goodies for newsletter subscribers. Since Damon sees a lot of free ebooks and how people are using them, we decided to ask him about trends and strategies for using our freebies to increase our readerships and grow mailing list subscribers.

Here are a few more details of what we covered:

  • The challenges of getting ebooks onto readers’ devices without going through Amazon or the various retailers.
  • A popular tactic for getting newsletter sign-ups as an author with at least three books out: making the first book permafree everywhere and making Book 2 free available to those who sign up for your list
  • Using exclusive content (such as prequels or unpublished epilogues) to entice people to sign up who otherwise might just pay for the books that are available elsewhere (also an alternative to giving away an entire novel)
  • Occasionally doing between-the-novels short stories or bonus scenes to keep newsletter subscribers on your list (so they don’t just grab their free book and unsubscribe)
  • Doing a round-robin multi-book giveaway with other authors in your genre so your book is exposed to other authors’ lists of subscribers
  • Thoughts on periodic price drops to free versus having a permafree title out there
  • Is there a danger in over-distributing a free ebook?

You can check out Damon’s first book, Baptism of Blood and Fire, Dragon Bond 1 on Amazon, and sign up for Bookfunnel at their site.

 

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