Why discount or give away your ebook for free? It seems counter-intuitive or even crazy.
There are so many books that are immediately available to readers, and you need to make yours stand out. Yes, a lot of work should go into the writing, the editing, the cover, the title, the description—but even if all these aspects are wonderful, your book won’t reach very many readers without using some marketing tactics. One great marketing tactic is giving away something for free.
Of course, if you only have one or two books, it’s probably not good to permanently discount one to free (discounting one to $0.99 for a short time works really well if you only have a couple books). But if you have three or more books, you can greatly benefit from giving away one of those books for free. How? Let’s take a look.
Why should you give away your ebook for free?
If you give away your ebook, you’ll gain more readers.
The fact is, people tend to be cheap when it comes to buying ebooks because there are so many books out there. Why spend more on a book when it may or may not be good and when you can spend less on this other book? If a reader doesn’t know the author’s name, he or she is unlikely to buy an ebook at full price from that author, especially if the book is more than $2.99. And that’s assuming readers can even find your book among all the other books out there.
When you discount your book to free, the book will come up in more searches on retailer sites. People often sort by price (we’ll talk more about this below), and are waiting to find another great read. Then as long as your description is compelling, the reviews are fairly good, and your cover is attractive and right for the genre, readers who do find your free ebook will often give it a try. Why not get a book for free? If they don’t like it, they haven’t lost out on anything, but if they love it, you win a fan for life.
You can also gain newsletter subscribers by giving away your ebook for free.
Free books are also being used by many authors to gain newsletter subscribers. How it works is simple: readers sign up for your newsletter and get to download a free copy of your ebook. This way you gain even more fans who have committed to hear from you weekly and will purchase additional books in the future.
Because giving away ebooks in return for subscribers is such a great marketing tool for authors, Book Cave has created a way for authors to gift readers an ebook directly from our site. We take care of gathering your email addresses and helping readers get the books onto their devices. We call this function a “subscriber magnet,” because your free ebook will draw in subscribers to your own newsletter. Click here to read more about subscriber magnets and how they’ll help you sell more books.
Readers you gain from giving away an ebook will go on to buy your other books.
Whether your book is free at retailers or you’re giving it away as a subscriber magnet, you gain fans who then go on to buy and read your other books at full price. These are likely readers you would have never “met” in another way.
Readers who like your books will recommend them to their friends.
I don’t know about you, but when I’ve read a great book, I like to tell my friends about it. Often, my friends will end up buying the book based on my recommendations. If people can get your book for free, then more are likely to read the book and recommend it to friends. That means even more sales on your sequels.
Readers will leave reviews on your book.
More readers equals more reviews. In fact, giving away your ebook is one of the best ways to gather reviews, and reviews are a tremendous factor in selling books on retailers. More reviews equal to even more readers choosing your book over other similar books out there. And, again, that means more sales and more fans, and more fans means even more sales!
Sometimes building enough reviews takes a few “free” sales, but each free sale will bring your books more and more notice.
The more people who get your free book on retailers, the higher that book will appear on retailer lists.
If your book is free on Amazon, more people will download it, and it will show up higher on Amazon’s lists, which means more people will see it. Since the book is free, those people will be likely to download it too, especially if it has a few good reviews.
Your book will be recommended by retailers to other readers.
When more people download your books, your books are more likely to be recommended to other readers who have purchased books that are similar to yours. Retailers will send readers a message that says something like, “People who purchased this book also bought such-and-such book.” All this equals more visibility, and visibility equals more sales.
Giving away your ebook for free is one of the least expensive ways to promote your book.
Having a “free” sale on your ebook is one of the least expensive ways to attract attention for your books. Even if you set a book to free for several years while you are gaining a following, it’ll still be the least expensive promotion you can do to give your work some notice. You might find that even after you’re selling well, you might decide to keep one of your books free. Many popular authors do!
Which ebook should you give away?
It’s always best to give away the first book in a series. That way, readers will feel compelled to go on and buy the next book in the series. A lot of authors even do graduated pricing for their ebooks—the first book is free, the second may be $0.99, the third may be $2.99, and the fourth may be $4.99. (We do not recommend selling your ebooks at a higher price than this unless you already have a large, dedicated fan base.) Other authors discount only the first book and all the rest are the same price. Some authors rotate having each book in their series for free for a limited time.
If you don’t write series but still have a few books published, you can still give away your ebook for free. Choose one that you feel is well-written and a good representation of your work.
Book Cave can help
If you’ve never discounted a book to free before, give it a try! Then submit it to us, and we’ll send it out to our subscribers. That’s thousands more eyes on your book. And generally, discounting for free will result in more sequel sales, reviews, and revenue than discounting to 99 cents.
Discounting across vendors is easy to do. Most retailers will let you set the price for free. The big exception is Amazon, but you can discount it for free there too.
Good luck on your next promotion!