Everyone loves free books! It’s clear to see how readers’ interest rises when they hear your book is available for free – because, of course. Offering a free eBook is a great way – especially for authors of series – to gain new, avid readers. Read on to learn more about how you can use free content to generate more sales and gain more readers!

  1. Offer free eBooks – this one is obvious, but: try offering a free book. Whether it is the first in a series or a standalone title, offering a free eBook for a limited time will get people interested in your writing.

    Of course, your readers could potentially take your book out from a library – but the purchaser mindset is different from the borrower mindset. Remember that book buyers are often book collectors – they are looking for more than just a good read. They want a good read and an addition to their collection! Digital libraries included, of course. Offering the first book in a series, for example, has twofold results: draws in readers who get to read something with no risk, big reward – and encourages those book collectors to continue purchasing the rest of the series.

    However, don’t neglect opting your titles into OverDrive to boost your revenue via library sales! Find out more about OverDrive and library sales here.

  2. Include free bonus chapters – when offering a free eBook (or any eBook – this is a great standard practice), be sure to include bonus chapters from another one of your books after the main content of the free eBook concludes. Start with a summary of the book you are featuring, and continue with the chapters – ideally 1-3, but you can add more if you really want to hook your new readers.

    Make sure that these chapters are intriguing – end on a cliff hanger, or right before an important plot point is revealed. Leaving your readers wanting more will entice them to pick up a copy. And, speaking of that – don’t forget to include a link to your website after the bonus chapters conclude!

  3. Put bonus content on your mailing list – have a mailing list you use for updates and/or a regular newsletter? Make sure to include two very important marketing tools: links to a free eBook, and direct links to downloadable free bonus content.

    This bonus content should, ideally, be different from the bonus chapters in your eBooks. Make it an exclusive extra chapter, or short story that is connected to one of your other books or series. This kind of free content – available exclusively to your mailing list or newsletter subscribers – is an added incentive to readers to sign up for correspondence and to follow your socials. It is exciting to see a newsletter with the subject line “EXCLUSIVE – new short story from [your name here]!” in their inbox. Plus, new subscribers will be likely to download free content and try out your work with no financial risk on their behalf – and if they like it, they’ll certainly be back for more.

  4. Change up what is free frequently – every few weeks, refresh which eBook you are offering for free. This is especially helpful if you have a large backlist. If you are just starting to build your backlist, start by changing the free eBook every few months, or advertising it as “limited time only” so as not to step on any potential sales.

    Changing up what is free will draw in new readers each time and encourage returning readers to come back. Advertising something as free is a sure-fire way to spark immediate interest!

  5. Apply to be part of KWL’s Free page promotions – and, of course, make sure you apply to be part of our Free page promotional list! This page updates every week. Details on how to apply to be part of the Free page is available on your promo tab.

    If you don’t have the promo tab, contact us at writinglife@kobo.com to request it. We are always happy to help you promote your books and develop your writing career!

    Read up on how to make Free work for you, and how to make your books Free.

Free eBooks are also a great way to experiment with a new series starter, a backlist title that didn’t get the initial traction you expected, or to offer bonus content to readers between new releases. You can run these free options for as short or long a time as you like, and can use the data to help you optimize your customer base.

The KWL dashboard even allows you to track your Free downloads! Learn more about tracking Free downloads here.

We hope that these tips will encourage you to try offering an eBook for free – and to implement offering free content into your marketing and publicity efforts. As always, happy writing from us here at KWL!

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