As an author, I thought if you offered your book free, thousands of downloads would naturally happen. It does happen if you're one of the best selling authors, but even those people do their prep work or someone else does it for them. This where a virtual assistant comes in handy.
Today, there are over 62,822 free books available on Amazon. This is low compared to previous days I’ve been on the site. How will people even know your book exists?
Titles are important.
Include a keyword to make your story searchable.
Ex: Ghost stories- use ghost
Ex: Westerns- old west, western, cowboy
Ex: wolf shifters- Wolf, wolves, pack, alpha, and shifter
Subtitles also help people search.
Your story might be Helena’s Promise, which tells the searcher nothing, but could be subtitled a paranormal Druid romance. People who are looking for paranormal, Druids, and romance will be directed to your book.
Timing is also important.
Some people decide to offer their book free for a month or longer. What this does is convey that your book isn’t special and there is no rush to get it. Kindle Direct offer you a five-day giveaway. Start on a Wednesday and end on a Sunday. Amazon analytics shows this as your prime time. If downloads are extremely high, you might stop at day three. Beware if you advertised it would be free for five days and you stop early some people will feel tricked.
Some authors leave one books free for weeks, even months in hopes of getting more recognition. This might work better with a short story you'd probably have a harder time selling. There's no real revenue loss. This also works better if you have several books out already too. Keep in mind, the idea is to wet the reader's palate for most of your tales. Hard to do, if you only have one book out and no new book in sight.
Reviews matter. I received my list from Digital Books Today, which includes the top 100 free books for the week. Sometime, I don't even look at it because I have too much to do, but today I did. I chose immediately my favorite authors, genres I wanted to get know better, and a couple unknow authors.
The reviews did influence me. Someone who only had five star reviews meant she traded reviews. Face it; James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Stephen King get bad reviews. Those who had about the same five star and one star reviews I passed on too. Often I read the one star reviews to see what the problem was. If it started with I wanted to like this book, or this was the worst book I've ever read, I disregareded because it was a troll review. Sometimes, I click on the reviewer to see if she ever liked anything in her life. If I discover we actually like similar books, then it validates her review.
A nice mix of reviews is good too. With over 100 free books to pick from, I chose twelve, four from fav authors, three from genre preference, and and five more from unknown to me authors. Obviously, they were all free books, but some genres I don't read. Others had overused title names often hoping to link to a more popular author. Bland burbs and uninteresting covers are another turn-off, but in the end, the reviews mattered most when I didn't know an author.
You have to tell people you’re going to offer your book free. I picked up some of these tips and part of the list from Arthur Crandon’s book, Giveaways the Ultimate ‘How to’ Guide. This short book is well worth reading.
Here are some places you could list your books. Most of these are blogs, so don’t expect to contact the owner the day before to place your book. Make sure your book fits too. Some do charge small fees for listing your book. At the time of this blog 1/24/15 all these pages/sites were live.
- http://www.mobileread.com/forums/ (membership required)
- . http://digitalbooktoday.com/12-top-100-submit-your-free-book-to-be-included-on-this-list/
The next group is Facebook groups. Keep in mind, some you have to join to promote. It may take days for you to be accepted. The tricky part is you can promote in all of them in one day or you'll be spamming. Check out who has the biggest audience to pick your three per day.
FACEBOOK FREE BOOK GROUPS
Free Today on Amazon
Kindle Freebies, New Authors, and other eBook info
Freebooks R US
Awesome Amazon Free Books
Free Kindle Books
Free Book Club
Free Kindle Book
Kindle (Free) Book Club
Free Books for Kindle UK
Today's Free Kindle Books
Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Free Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books
Free Romance i-books
There are Facebook groups devoted to simple promotion. Use bigger groups and genre specific groups. Here are my Favs. You will have to join these groups too.
Join a Tweet Tribe. This is a group that retweets your tweets. You'll have to retweet theirs too. The benefit is a larger geographic reach and time zones. (Most want you to have at least 500-1000 followers and be recommended. Many want you to only tweet book related material. I'm in ASMSG, Author Tweeting Authors, Twitter Marketing. You can look up these groups on Facebook.)
Ask any group, you're already a part of to retweet your tweet. Make sure to do the same for members. It takes me about 30-45 minutes daily to retweet other members tweets.
Don’t underestimate the power of the tweet, but be careful not to say buy my book. It is best to write in the third person.
Example: Revelation, a riveting paranormal romance, is now free on Smashwords. Always include live links.
Hashtags help the reader find your book. The book above could use the tags #paranormal #free #romance #freekindle #giveaway
Change up your tweets too. People tend to ignore the same tweets and sometime Twitter identifies it as spam and deletes it.
Always include a photo this makes people stop and look. Make sure you own the photo. This prevents nasty legal issues. Your book cover, stock photos you bought, free images, or photos you took all work.
Pinterest gives you the best rate of your promo to be seen. Pin your blogs, your book cover. Don’t have a Pinterest site. It is time to get one. Make sure you start following people. Follow those with similar interests to your book. There are several freebies sites on Pinterest too.
Prepare to blog on all your free days. It is another way to get the news out. Make sure to have an easy button on your site to reach the free book. Contact associates to feature your blogs.
I used Fiverr on my last free book. It helped me reach a much wider audience for about $15. I reccomend doing this a week in advance.
Facebook offers you the option to boost your post. I've tried this on different occasions and saw a very minimal increase in downloads for the price I paid. Would not recommend. You're better off sharing on genre sites.
Plan your free book offer while you're on a tour. Your hosts and touring company will help drive traffic to your free book.
Holiday & Seasonal Linking
Books about Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer works best before the holiday or season. Not too much interest in the swimsuit diet in the middle of the summer.
The great thing about book signings is meeting people. Not everyone is ready to buy your book, but they will try it out if you have a coupon for a free book, short story, or free chapters.
The Waiting Game
Lucky you, 2000+ people downloaded your free book, but only six reviews and two were lousy.People who 'buy' free books, tend to pick up dozens and it takes them a while to read them, some never do.