Free and exclusive content can do the work for you on the occasions it is offered – but how do you really make offering a free eBook or bonus content beneficial to your career as an author? How do you make the most of these offerings?

Remember: free content is an advertising tool.

Keep that in mind, always. If you catch yourself lamenting the fact that what you are offering for free could instead be sales, then offering content for free might not be the right move for you at this point in your career. But, if you’re willing to try it out, here are five tips that can help you out during this process.

  1. Offer the first-in-series for free – this is always the best move – if you are a series author. Not a series author? Give one of your older standalones some love by putting it back in the spotlight or get people talking about a title of yours that didn’t move as well as you expected. For series authors, however, get that first one out there! This is a great way to get readers interested in the rest of your series, and may lead them to purchasing the following titles as they go along, or to splurge and get the whole box set.
  2. Submit to KWL’s Free page promotion – this page exists for this very purpose! As an advertising tool. Including your book in a line-up of other awesome authors’ work is a big draw, since your book won’t even be the only free on offer! Readers can download your book alongside others that might catch their eye in an easy, organized manner via the Kobo storefront. Learn more about promotions here.
  3. Link to your free book – everywherenewsletter? Check. Linktree? Check. Every social media link-in-bio possible? Check. Make it clear that you are offering a title for free everywhere you are present online! Don’t miss out on drawing in different audiences, as not everyone gets their information in the same way. Being widespread with your information will make sure your free eBook offerings reach as many people as possible.
  4. Promise more free books to come – you don’t have to specify when, but you do have to follow through – so only promise this one if you plan on doing it. The excitement of another book from your backlist being offered for free will definitely get potential readers wondering what might be coming next. Even if they weren’t keen on your current free eBook, they might just be back next time.
  5. Boost your backlist with your free offerings – and, likewise, boost your backlist! If the free eBook is part of a series, make that clear. Offer a special, lower price for the duration of the free eBook offering. And, as always, include this information everywhere you can possible have it for the most effective campaign.

Another key point to remember: if your readers want more, they will get more!

Here are some more general tips and some notes when it comes to making the most of your free content:

Keep track of how many free downloads you garner. On the KWL dashboard, there are settings you can toggle to either include or exclude free downloads that you have received over the duration of your free sales period. And, as always, review your sales reports at the end of each month to really see where your numbers end up.

Pay attention to what readers do with the free content – are they writing reviews? Sharing links to your works on their own social media? Talking about it on TikTok? Listening to your readers – and seeing their reactions to an offering like a free eBook – is a great way to note what is working for you vs. what isn’t.

Never frame your free eBook or other free content as a “gift” or as if you are doing your readers a favour! It won’t fool anyone. Free content is simply that: free content.

Treat free content like an opportunity. It is an open invitation to try something new, and if the reader likes it, maybe they will come back for more, and more, and end up an avid reader.

And, for you, it is an opportunity to learn more about your readers, the indie publishing market, and the current interest in content like yours. Every action you take, every experimental move you make – especially if you are new to the free eBook game – helps you learn and grow as an author. Don’t be afraid to make the leap into offering free content and see where this endeavour takes you.

Have you offered a free eBook before, or are you planning to? We hope these tips have helped! Happy writing.