The power of free is a proven Internet marketing technique. A free series starter for your ebooks follows this premise.
It doesn’t matter if it is games, apps, or web services.
Free is the typical launching pad for making money from Internet-based businesses.
Sometimes called freemium, it aims to get users to try a product or service, or at least discover that it is available.
There is a huge level of competition on the Internet. Gaining attention by any means is a marketing win.
Many authors shudder at the thought of giving away their ebooks and hard work for free.
But thinking in this way misses the point about how gaining traction on the Internet works.
Ebooks are a digital product.
They are the same as an app, music track, video, or game.
Promoting an ebook requires a digital marketing approach and not bookstore shopfront logic.
There are no warm and friendly author book signings on the Internet.
But you need to attract attention and new readers. Offering free books is an ideal way to attract new readers.
Does anyone know your name?
If you are new to self-publishing, this is a crucial point to understand.
No one knows you yet.
Getting your name and ebook out there to as many readers as possible is far more important in the early months than selling ebooks.
You might sell ten copies in your first month and make $20.00. That’s great.
But it means that you only have ten readers.
However, if you can give away 1,000 copies of your ebook in a month, your chances of getting retail reviews or book blogger reviews increase dramatically.
If you have more than one book, you also have a better chance of making follow-on sales.
Are your ebooks in a series?
Many successful ebook authors are writing stories and publishing ebooks in a series because they are tailor-made for Internet marketing.
If you can get readers interested in the first book, making sales for your remaining books in your series will be a lot easier.
Of course, one of the most effective means of using a free ebook to drive real sales is to use a free series starter.
However, getting ebooks listed for free is not as easy as you would think.
Amazon does not allow you to list an ebook for free on the Kindle Store. The minimum price you can set is $0.99.
To offer an ebook for free on Amazon, you have to join KDP Select and hand over your ebook exclusivity.
And even then, you only get to offer a free ebook for five days every three months. It is not a practical solution for a free series starter.
How can you make an ebook free?
The only way to make a series starter free for an extended period, or permanently, is to open publish with an aggregator.
You can use Draft2Digital or Smashwords, who will publish to Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many others.
You will also need to publish separately on Amazon KDP, of course.
Once you publish your ebook, you can set the price to free on all your aggregator’s retailers.
Amazon will still have your ebook listed at whatever selling price you chose.
But if you choose $0.99, then that’s the best you can do.
There is also the option to offer free ebooks from your website.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can set up a free ebook download for your readers.
You can offer your ebooks in mobi, epub, or pdf. Your free ebooks can then be read on a Kindle, iPad, the Kindle app, or in a web browser.
Promote your free series starter
Once your series starter is free on all retailers, promote the links on your website, blog, and social media.
You can use a universal book link to give your readers a choice of retailers.
If you have a mailing list, let your subscribers know where they can get your ebook for free.
But don’t think that you are giving away your hard work when you see (hopefully) hundreds, or even better, thousands of people grab your free ebook. Why?
Because now, many more people will know your name and that you are an author who writes a great story.
Then you need to be patient and wait for your follow-on sales to arrive.
It doesn’t matter if you write romance, science fiction, or thrillers.
Online book promotion is extremely competitive. You need to use every trick in the book to attract attention to your books.
Offering a free series starter is just one of the methods you can try.