Guest Post: Gaining Exposure through Free Downloads of Your eBook

For new authors, a great deal of marketing is needed in order to gain popularity. If the public doesn’t know who you are, how are they to buy your book? As the Internet has made it easier for authors to publish their works, it has also made it easier to gain popularity from downloadable content such as eBooks. However, the marketing doesn’t stop at offering digital copies of your material. A great deal of work needs to be put in to gain the respect of the reading community. There are ways to help your reputation grow aside from physical appearances at book signings or ads on the Internet.

There have been many writers who have found a wondrous opportunity to promote their works in order to generate sales and acknowledgement. Online locations that offer eBooks to users, such as Amazon.com, allow the author to set the prices of the digital download. While some may be reluctant to drop the price to a certain degree, there is a great deal of logic to promoting a free download of your eBook. You don’t have to keep the digital content as free forever. You just need it to increase your notoriety.

Systems used by such companies as Amazon.com display eBooks that are the most popular. As free eBooks are downloaded quite regularly, these websites record the amount of times each own is accessed. The more times it has been downloaded, the popular the eBook becomes. After a certain amount of time, your once unknown eBook can rise to levels that are equal to some of the most popular authors in the world. Once this rating has been established, you simply change the book from being a free download to a retail copy. Theoretically, this will drive your eBook to make more money in the long run as its popularity has already been established.

Not every eBook can experience this kind of growth, however. Reviews and content will still play a pivotal role in how well the population accepts your material. If you produce a substandard eBook, you could still feel the brunt of negative reviews. As many eBook buyers take popular vote and consensus into consideration before spending money on the digital copy, your book could still be less valuable than you’d like.

Offering a free “limited time” download of your eBook is akin to the free samples you see at grocery stores. Although the download of an entire book is more than merely a sample, it helps create popularity. While reviews can help increase the sales of your eBook, it is the word of mouth aspect that can help propel your name as a competent writer. Multiple blogs dedicated to book reviews could display your work without you spending a single dime for marketing simply because someone really enjoyed the experience of reading the material.

If you think about the amount of money you spend on a marketing campaign, is it really that different than sacrificing the sales of your eBook for a few weeks? If the material is well written and accepted by many readers, the amount you sacrifice during your free download campaign could be small compared to how well the sales could do after driving the popularity up. Your goal is to promote awareness of your eBook, and what faster way is there than to offer a free digital copy?

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Author Bio: 

Ken Myers is the founder of  http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.

10 Comments

  1. I’m still trying to figure out how to set a free download day on Amazon. Any advice?

    1. From what I understand you have to be part of KDP Select to do that. Otherwise you can report a lower price on your book, but that will most likely make it free forever.

      1. Oh darn it. Well, thanks for checking for me.

    2. Stephannie’s right. You have to be in Select to do that, but from what I hear, the results of Select don’t have the same benefit that they used to. I price my book free on Smashwords and let it trickle to B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc. In time, Amazon picks it up. However, it sounds like Amazon is more reluctant to price match so this is no longer a quick way to do it.

      One thing you could do is set up a certain free time on Apple. If you upload directly to them, I hear you can set sale days and I believe free is one of the options. Better yet, Apple doesn’t require exclusivity to do it. Apple is the only place I’m aware of that you can do this. If there are others, I hope someone chimes in. 😀

      1. Thanks Ruth! I’ll have to see if I can do that with Apple. Man, this site really does live up to its name. I’m glad I get to be a part of it.

  2. Katie Cross says:

    Yeah, it’s KDP select that does that. But there are so many other websites out there that give you a bit more control. You can offer it free on Smashwords, or just change 0.99 on amazon. Lots of options!

    Great article! Thanks for the review.

  3. I get a lot of flack for putting some of my books up for free, and I do this at permanently free. If you have a book people want to read, free works very well. 😀

  4. sknicholls says:

    I put my book up for free on smashwords and had 52 downloads that weekend. By the end of next weekend I had sold 32 copies (whereas I had sold about 32 copies total from March to July, seriously). I don’t know what the typicals are for a promo like that but I was happy. That’s 84 people potentially reading my book, plus the 32 I had sold already, wow, 116 people interested enough to download it. I don’t see the reviews yet as I just recently did this, but I am both curious and anxious. My goal is to get readers to read the book and it will be measured in reviews not dollars.

  5. I did free book promos when I was in KDP Select and I’ve done free book coupons at Smashwords. I’ve found free book promos to be the best marketing tool of all.

  6. Smashwords as that free option for a day or two seems to be the best way of going about it.

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