Are Free Promotions Still Worth It?

by | May 31, 2018

By Frances Caballo

The controversy over whether it’s worthwhile to give books away for free continues.

You work hard when you write a book. There are the costs associated with writing workshops, writers’ conferences, book coaches, editors, and book designers.

When you’re ready to publish, it’s difficult to think that despite all of your investments of time and money that you need to give your book – your baby – away for free.

I know. I’ve been there.

When I wrote my first book, Social Media Just for Writers, I spent $2,200 on two editors and two designers. I’ll admit that I was reluctant to give it away for free.

Now I feel differently about giveaways. Sure, I love it when the dollars add up in my bank account from book sales, but I also understand the necessity of free or discounted giveaways to attract more readers and reviews.

As a new author, giving away ebooks and giving away paperbacks on Goodreads is one of the best ways to:

  • raise your book’s profile
  • introduce your book to readers
  • and attract reviews

When I finally decided to give my book away for free, I looked at these services:

  • EReader News Today
  • Fussy Librarian
  • BookSends
  • FreeBooksy
  • The eReader Café
  • ReadCheaply
  • ebookbooster
  • FreeBookService
  • Reading Deals

Since those early days, I’ve scheduled some free promotions, and they work well. These are the services I usually use:

Using these services, I usually spend $449. Here’s the breakdown.

BookSends

When you go to the BookSends website, you’ll notice that this is a service primarily for readers, which you would expect it to be. To find where you can rent the list, look at the upper taskbar and click Advertise on Booksends.

To advertise on BookSends, you need at least five reviews with a high overall rating and an attractive cover. You don’t need your book to be priced at free but it does need to be less than $3 and at least 50% off the full price. If you want to promote a novella or short story collection, BookSends will likely reject you.

You fill out the online form, include your Amazon ASIN, and list your genre. Then there are some extra options. For additional fees, you can opt to get featured in:

  • the eReaderIQ daily newsletter (50,000 subscribers)
  • the BookRunes daily newsletter (100,000 subscribers)
  • and a post to BookSends’ Facebook page

Cost: You could spend as much as $255.

FreeBooksy

Again, this site is designed for readers so be sure to click Authors on the upper tab.

Here you can get your permafree book in front of readers, feature a free download for the first book in a series, or get your book on Bargain Booksy, provided your book is priced from $0.99 to $5.

Under the Bargain Booksy feature, the list you purchase depends on your genre. The thriller list has 158,500 readers and costs $55 to rent. The romance deal of the day costs $160 and reaches up to 358,000 readers. On the low end, a travel book has 76,000 readers and costs just $25.

Select a list, click purchase, select a date, and click Select a Date. Note: Make sure you check this site before scheduling a promotion on Kindle Select Publishing. When I checked the dates, they were booked two months out.

Next, paste in your Amazon link and click Go. You are on your way.

Cost: It depends on your genre.

ebookBooster

Ebookbooster is a deal. Submit your name and email address, your Amazon ASIN, your genre and book description, and your author bio. Then rate your book according to the movie rating system. In return, ebookBooster will submit your book to 45+ sites.

Once you submit all of your information, click submit and pay the fee on PayPal.

Cost: $35

Free Book Service

When you arrive at Free Book Service’s home page, click Choose Your Package. As of this writing, only one service is available, the Gold service.

With the Gold service, you get 5,000+ estimated downloads and must offer your book for free. The expected turnaround time is 48 hours. When you click Buy Now, you’ll immediately be redirected to Paypal. Once you pay, you’ll provide the service with your information.

The Executive package isn’t available right now. When it is available, you have access to 15,000+ downloads. The executive package comes at the cost of $379.

Cost: $189

Ereader News Today

I haven’t used Ereader News Today of late, but I had in the past and liked it. It’s definitely worth noting.

To be eligible, your book must be available on Amazon, it must be free, or on sale, it must be a full-length book at 125 pages, and if you used this service within the last 90 days, you’re ineligible.

Also, your cover must be professionally crafted, you need positive reader reviews, and your book must be professionally edited. Ereader News Today doesn’t accept erotica, pornography, or books that contain controversial subject matter.

Cost: It depends on the genre you select and the price of your book. Pricing can range from $40 to $140.

Use Social Media

To support your book promotion make sure you leverage your social media. For example, change your Twitter header and Facebook banner images.

You can also pin an image to your Twitter and Facebook timelines.

Or post occasional messages about your free book promotion.

Whether you’re a new author or one with numerous books under your belt, free promotions of ebooks are worthwhile on occasion. They will attract new readers, and with more readers, you’ll have more reviews, and your books’ ratings will rise and situate you for more sales in the future.

So definitely consider occasional free promotions as part of your book marketing strategy.

 
Photo: BigStockPhoto

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4 Comments

  1. Bryan Fagan

    I’ve always thought it makes sense. Especially when we’re just starting out. Mine is due to be released at the end of the year. I will probably have a handful or so of freebies to give away. I want people to know what I can do. Good stuff. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      Bryan: Offering freebies is a good way to get reviews for a new book. Good luck with the launch of your new release!

      Reply
  2. W. M. Raebeck

    Thanks for that concise information, Frances. Do you think that FREE is mo’ better than discounted? Why not $1.99 or even $.99? I know this is part of the on-going debate, but what’s your thinking? To get the absolutely max number of eyes onto the page? To be generous? To only have free promotions occasionally, so it’s a big treat for your followers? To promote something new? All of the above? Am I answering my own question?

    Reply
    • Frances Caballo

      W.M. Raebeck: I think that discounted books also can work well. But I think for new authors, a free book works the best.

      Reply

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