Marketing: Paid Services and Free Stuff

So if I don’t like doing the social media thing, what do I do for marketing? What is the thing I’ve tried that actually ends up selling me enough books to buy a coffee or two a month?

Paid services

Don’t. Just save your money.

I have tried a whole bunch of paid services over the years. Twitter campaigns, getting in with a bunch of authors to cross promote, Facebook campaigns, good old ads for authors, all sorts of things. Spent a couple hundred bucks over the years trying them. And do you know how much I’ve gotten back as a direct result of them?

Email subscribers that don’t open the email or click on the links. Four sales. Total.

Smashwords

Smashwords is fantastic for giving authors promotional options for their fanbases. You can create coupons for individual books and give them out to whoever you want for whatever purposes you want, which is fantastic. If you just want readers and to get your book into as many hands as possible, this is probably the easiest way to do that. 

On top of that, you can also set books to free on Smashwords. I think I’ve mentioned this in the Smashwords post, but I don’t set my books for free on Smashwords. I instead have a few books available where the reader can set the price, and that price can be free. In most cases, folks will just take them for free, but others will still offer you something that they can afford for them.

Contests

You know what? If you’re just looking for numbers of people to sign up for a mailing list, a contest is fantastic and you don’t have to arrange to sent too many books out to people. But from my experience, a contest is not how you build followers. The ones I’ve run and participated in have only earned me temporary followers with no sales boost, and a lot of unsubscribes and bounces as soon as I sent out the first newsletter. Getting people to your newsletter is great, but a lot of them don’t decide to stay.

Instafreebie

I’ve only been doing Instafreebie1 for a short time, but this has actually resulted in a good number of sales since being part of the program. I have a mix of first books in series and previews of other books, and enroll in a bunch group giveaways. A lot of people download freebies and I see an increase in sales across all the channels I distribute to.

The thing to remember with Instafreebie is that they require an ePub and do not offer a conversion service. Because of this, and because of how I use it, I use the ePubs from Draft2Digital again, because those have links to other books presented to the reader when they finish reading. If it’s a preview, I have to open up Calibre and manually add a link to the download page for the book they are currently reading.

And, for the most part, that’s what’s worked. Except for that one last thing: Reviews.

  1. Use that link to help me out! []

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