If you want to be successful at ebook marketing, as an indie author, you may want to entertain the thought of giving away freebies. However, giving away your ebooks for free can either turn curious visitors into ardent fans or diminish your reputation as an author altogether.  So first try testing the waters with 5-10 freebies and see what sort of feedback you get.

 

 

If you want to be successful at ebook marketing, especially as an indie author, you may want to entertain the thought of giving away freebies. Does it actually work? Well I guess the best answer is “it depends”.  Success will vary with each individual depending on the type of results being sought. Some authors have increased their bottom line by offering give-a-ways while others were able to springboard their entire writing career into a new dimension as a result of free book offerings. Yet and still, on the other end of the freebie spectrum lay authors’ claims of complete and utter failure.

So how do you determine whether or not to offer freebies as a part of your ebook marketing strategy? As with any decision making process, you should weigh the pros and cons. Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to help you make the best decision for your particular marketing goals.

Pros of Giving Away Free Ebooks

Giving away freebies may be the perfect ebook marketing approach for indie authors for the following reasons:

1. Grow Your Email List

If you are doing your own ebook marketing, it’s a good idea to have some sort of data collection system in place on your website for capturing the information of potential fans.  Those who join your email list can then stay up-to-date on announcements about various promotions and new releases. And a great way to grow your list is by increasing the traffic flowing to your website. By offering free ebook downloads directly from your site, you can increase traffic and ultimately convert visitors into email list subscribers.

2. More Exposure

If you want people to read your books as a first-time author, giving one or two of them away for free is one of the best approaches you can take. People are generally skeptical about investing their time and money on a new author’s work, but they may be more open to giving your book a chance if they can get it for free. And once people in significant numbers begin reading your book, you can trust the resulting word of mouth to increase the visibility of your work.

3. Create Leads

Ultimately, the point of free ebook giveaways is to make fans out of new readers. If you want audiences to read your trilogy of novels, for instance, it makes sense to give the first one away for free. Of course this strategy only works if your giveaway employs writing techniques that hook your readers into your story.  Once your readers are addicted, they will be more than willing to buy the next two books in your trilogy in order to find out what happens next.

4. Build a Reputation

Giving away free ebooks can help build your reputation as an author. First-time authors struggle to succeed because no one knows them. That means no one is willing to take a chance on their work. By giving away your books for free, not only are you giving readers a taste of your writing style but you are letting them know that you exist. No other ebook marketing strategy is as effective at getting your previously non-existent brand out there among the masses.

5. Feedback from Readers

Giving away free ebooks allows you to gauge your audience’s response to your writing style. Start by putting in place the necessary processes through which you can acquire feedback from readers that you have given your books to.  You can email requests for reader input or you can even set up a Facebook page for obtaining feedback.  The information gathered can then be used to tweak your future works to better fit the tastes and preferences of your readers.

Cons of Free Ebook Giveaways

Some of the disadvantages of giving away free copies of your book may include the following:

1. Create a Negative Pattern

Free giveaways have a tendency to set a negative pattern. In other words, once you start out by giving your ebooks away for free, it may be difficult to convince people to begin paying for them in the future. Your fans might start expecting you to give every one of your books away for free from that point on; and if you refuse to continue the trend, they could just as easily refuse to purchase your ebooks.

2. Consequences

It is true that an amazing ebook given away for free might compel a reader to actually buy your next one. However, what happens if your readers hate your free ebook? The answer is simple: if you introduce your writing style to people and they hate it, nothing you do from that point on will ever convince them to buy anything you produce. Chances are they’ll even pass on any of your future free offerings.  So make sure you put every effort into making your freebies worth the read.

3. Undervalue Your Work

Most people believe that you get what you pay for. For this reason, freebies have a tendency of devaluing hard-earned work. When you opt to give your ebooks away for free, some people might take it as a sign that you don’t think your work is worthy enough for anyone to buy.  One way around this stigma is to attach “for a limited time only” to free offerings.  Doing so not only reinstates value, but it can also increase downloads by injecting scarcity along with a sense of urgency.

Giving away your ebooks for free can either turn curious visitors into ardent fans or diminish your reputation as an author altogether.  So first try testing the waters with 5-10 freebies and see what sort of feedback you get.   If your efforts produce the desired results then make give-a-ways a regular component of your ebook marketing strategy.

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