Authors, It's True the Best Things in Life Are FreeGuest Post by Mari Selby
Free, free, free. We all like free. Nothing guarantees lines of people queuing up like a table with free samples. Giving away free samples really gets our tails wagging, and our attention. Just the word "free" creates more excitement, and speaks to the child in all of us who wants a prize. Giving "free content", consultations, book chapters or webinars is a strategy we often suggest to our clients. Doing so demonstrates your expertise and helps build rapport with readers. Giving something free to reviewers, and interviewers can also develop great media buzz.
What free content can you distribute? When visitors come to your website they can exchange their email addresses with you for your free item. Build your email list with whatever you can create that is free. You don't need to create something new just to give something away. What in your book lends itself to screen-savers, or downloadable prints? What in your book stands alone and can become a product, a chart, a graph, or a map? For fiction writers free can be a chapter, or excerpt.
Do you have an ebook? Experiment with Kindle Select's free book days. One of our clients with a metaphysical memoir and very little effort had over 300 downloads in one day. Those 300 downloads led to some great buzz about her book and more sales of her book in print.
Make a screensaver out of your book cover, or other images in your book. A screensaver acts as an advertising tool by displaying your corporate logos or showcasing your book. It includes different text effects allowing you to display date, time, or a personal message, in any font or color.
Create an informational video with your webcam, post it on your website and any video supporting sites like YouTube. Use information or excerpts from your book as content. When you offer it as a free sample in exchange for someone's email, you build your mailing list.
Offer mini consultations free. Hold virtual fireside chats where readers, or fans can ask you questions. Host a storytelling night and share excerpts and inspiration from your novel.
One of our clients has a chart of our commitments to life in her book. She added one of her photographs as background and is giving away that chart on her website. New visitors come and download the print daily.
What in your book ties your material to the winter Holidays? One of our clients wrote a meta-analysis book dealing with life's problems. She is sending a coaster she made of her book's cover to the media. Her motto is have a "no problem" holiday... "coast" on through...
Share on FB. That is always free. Share quotes, excerpts, and giveaways of your book on FB. Create a conversation with other authors who write about your topic. Their followers will learn about you, and your followers will benefit them.
Create a 30 minute webinar on the material in your book. Host it as a weekly or bi-monthly conference call on free conference call or as a meeting on go to meeting. Change the topic once a month to keep people coming back to your website.
Besides building a mailing list, giving away improves our karma, keeps people coming back to your website, and can generate some great buzz. I am a great believer in recycling. Think of your giveaway as a way of recycling your material and yet still keeping it fresh by creating it in another form. Keep people coming back to see what you are offering, they will become your fans, and maybe even your evangelists for your book. How many Harry Potter evangelists did it take to make a J. K. Rowling?
The best things in life are free. Hugs, love, smiles, laughter, sunsets, lightning, birdsong, a dogs affection, and a positive attitude are all free. Have fun with your free samples, experiment and see what works best for you, and for your fans. The possibilities for giveaways are only limited by your imagination, which by the way is
Mari Selby is a contributing writer for San Francisco Book Review. For the past 15 years Mari has been the director of Selby Ink, a publicity and marketing firm. Selby Ink promotes authors who make a difference, and helps those authors to develop name recognition through traditional publicity efforts as well as social media. Selby ink specializes in the following genres: body-mind-spirit, relationships, environmental issues, and social justice.
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