I’m guest posting today for one of my favorite publishing experts: Jane Friedman, a former Writer’s Digest editor and current social media professor and founder of Scratch Magazine, a new publication for artists and writers. This post is a bit of a departure from my usual stuff, but if you’re one of the many people who ask me about how to market a book, you may want to check out how I’m connecting my books with new readers:
In 2012 I was in-between book projects, and I had an idea for a short eBook on creativity, so I decided on a whim to write it, put a cover together with a high quality image, and release it for free during a 3-day KDP select offer. I even guest posted on this blog about it.
Thanks to several generous shares of the eBook by folks like Joanna Penn and the momentum of the Kindle bestseller lists, Creating Space landed on the “Creativity” and “Writing” bestseller lists (which, by the way, used to be listed next to the paid bestseller list) and spent a two days in the Kindle top 100 free eBooks. About 4,800 readers downloaded the eBook in three days (I didn’t know then that I should have probably used all five days at once).
After the promotion, I kept the price at $.99 since it’s short, and readers kept downloading it, typically noting its brevity as a virtue in reviews. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about those 4,800 downloads. Despite my ads and author information in the back of the book, I still didn’t have any way to contact any of those readers again.
While authors have successfully used free promotions to sell other books or to gain temporary exposure on bestseller lists (see Let’s Get Visible for more on that), I really wanted to find a way to offer at least a few of my books in a “pay what you want” model that relies on collecting email addresses as the primary form of payment.
That model existed—it just didn’t offer eBooks.