Why nobody wants to buy your writing and why you should give it away for free
How many times can you honestly say that you’ve bought a fictional book without reading a single word that the author has written before? All you’ve read is the cover and the blurb and that’s been enough for you to buy the book?
Honestly, think about it.
It may have happened if you read a very good review from a reviewer you trust. It may have happened if a friend recommended it but usually in those cases the friend will lend you the book or they’ll buy it for you as a gift. You don’t pay money for it yourself.
The normal process of buying a book involves reading the blurb and then having a little read of the inside. The ebook experience mimics this by offering us a free sample. The truth is that very rarely will any reader try out a new author to them without having sampled a little of their work for free.
This is a key lesson for self published authors to learn. If you give away samples of your writing for free lots more people will want to buy.
The second key lesson is that you have to make it as easy as possible for people to read free samples of your work.
There are hundreds of promotion tactics out there that aim to get people to check out your book on Amazon.com: Tweeting, Instagraming, Pinteresting, Facebooking, redditing etc. etc.
The problem is that these are the equivalent of walking into a room a holding up your book and expecting it to buy it. Just shoving it in their faces for them to read the back or front.
A much better tactic is to do a reading from your book. That way people find out whether they like your style and content or not. If they do like it their whole thought process changes. Suddenly buying your book is not a risk or a potential waste of money anymore because they know that they’ll enjoy it.
“But people can download a free sample of my book from Amazon?”
Yes they can but that is effort. People are less likely to click on Amazon links in general as they know you’re trying to sell them something. But supposing they do, the process then goes like this:
- Go to Amazon Page
- Read blurb
- Read reviews
- Decide whether to download sample
- Download sample
- Look for Kindle
- Read sample
Many people will download the sample not thinking to much about it but then never actually get around to reading it.
In marketing you want to make things as easy for your potential customer as possible. So it’s much better to offer them a direct link to a page on your website where they can instantly start reading Chapter 1. Before they know it they are engrossed in your writing. At the end of the sample, that’s where you offer them a link to your Amazon page so they can buy the book.
Here are some ways to give away your writing for free:
– Have the first one or two chapters of all your books up on your website for people to read for free.
– Have the whole first novel in a series up for free on your site and also available to download as a PDF.
– Have free short stories up on your site.
– Write a blog about your life, particular topics that interest you, very short stories or writing in general.
Notice that the writing you give away does not have to be the same as that which you are trying to sell. If you get a reader hooked on your humourous blog about bringing up your children they may well wish to check out your romantic fiction. They like you and they know you already so it’s much less of a leap.