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  • Using exclusive content (such as prequels or unpublished epilogues) to entice people to sign up who otherwise might just pay for the books that are available elsewhere (also an alternative to giving away an entire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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  • Thanks for this everyone – this was a really interesting episode and your guest provided lots of great ideas. I’m certainly thinking seriously about what I give away and how. I’m even considering pulling my permafree novella and using it as a lead magnet since it’s exactly the kind of bonus story discussed. BTW if people want to sell books themselves they can use woocommerce, a free plugin, to sell downloads. I have a store on my site although I must disclose that I am a website builder so it was relatively easy for me. Thanks again.