It’s no secret that by now I have four free e-books out, one of which is only available if you join my email list. It’s also no secret that some of the most successful indie authors gave a lot of free e-books away early in their careers, and I’m no different.
How many free e-books have I given away thus far?
And that’s with small and no promotion.
How many will I end up giving away by the end of the first quarter in 2019?
I’m hoping a few thousand. Out of those few thousand, I’m hoping for about one hundred reviews, though fifty would be nice.
Let me stop talking about myself and start talking about reviews because this is the underestimated power of free and what it can and will do for you: Force Amazon to notice you.
Now that I have your attention, allow me to explain why that’s the case before for some odd reason the memories of a time I once knew back in the summer of 2014 strike the emotional chord with me.
No, it literally just invaded my mind as drove into the sunset that year, still wondering to this day what could’ve been—we’ll leave it to the creative nonfiction piece I’m working on.
Okay, where was I?
Oh, the power of reviews.
Amazon’s A Business
I’m sure you know that, but I wanted to reiterate it because here in 2019, I’m not sure everyone knows how a business operates.
Businesses have one common goal and that’s to make money.
But you need to make money to live, so don’t blame people for wanting to make money.
Just like you want to sell your books and make a full-time living doing so.
For that, Amazon will promote the hell out of books that garner good reviews and a lot of them.
Because they know they’ll sell.
So you can thank Amazon one day when they’re promoting your books.
Which means it’s a good idea to put your books up on KDP Select for free during the five-day promos, especially if you’re a new author.
No, you won’t make much money early on, but that’s beside the point. The key to passive income is that the money comes later and after you manage to sell few-thousand free copies of your debut novel, reviews will roll in.
Rule of thumb is to expect one review per one-hundred sales, so ten reviews per one-thousand, meaning five-thousand sales should give you roughly fifty reviews.
Not bad, huh?
Want to know a secret?
Amazon loves fifty-plus reviews, especially if they’re higher than three and a half stars.
And that’s the power of free.
Did you read the article I posted two days ago regarding this?
You should, but I’m going to rehash on something here because it’s that important.
Funnel this freebie book that you put up for free on KDP Select to another freebie book readers can download for free if they join your email list.
Sometimes, they might be hesitant to do so especially if they just bought one of your books.
However, however, however, here’s a trick I learned from Nick Stephenson and his free e-book, Reader Magnets.
Place the ad for such a product in the front AND back of your e-book.
If the reader loved your book, it’s now likely they’ll download the freebie and give you an email address.
This means you’ll have readers you can alert when your books are set for free on Amazon, or if you’re like me and your series progresses, more books you’ll have available on Amazon….and don’t set the newbie books for free.
But do you see the power of free?
Especially for rookie authors?
Yes, if you’re new to the game and offer some freebies, it’s like taking a car for a test drive, and nothing more.
They’re taking your e-books for a test drive, and if they like them, they’ll purchase them.
I plan on writing at least ten books in the Lord of Columbia Series, and as many as thirteen.
There will be three trilogies and likely three in-between era books, so we’re looking at potentially twelve as a safe bet.
Which means when Missing in Columbia comes out, I’ll set it for free for five days, along with Swords of Destiny, and especially Northern Knights.
But again, we are in business to make money off our books, and that’s what I’m doing here. After I lead another huge promo for Northern Knights, the free promos of Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia will be not only unadvertised but will likely cease after just one or two promos.
Only then is it likely I remove my works from Amazon exclusivity and open publishing, as now I have enough readers from the large promo I’m planning with Northern Knights that will reach thousands of readers.
That means reviews, and that means sales.
Better yet, it means income, and hopefully a good deal of income.
Northern Knights, Swords of Destiny, and Missing in Columbia will all open publish after their final rounds in KDP Select, with Northern Knights going first followed by the other two.
The money will come, but it’s a slow build.
Why is Income Slow in the Indie World?
It all has to do with risk, and something cool about online businesses, especially that of being an indie author, is that the costs are low.
What do you need to succeed as an indie author from a costs standpoint?
A domain name, which runs between $13-$15 a year unless you’re buying a flipped domain, which is pricey but will make you money.
Site security packages.
An official email. For instance, on my other blog, my email is support@getprofootballapparel.
Paid promotion, as they can reach thousands of readers.
A book cover. Do NOT make one yourself if you’re selling for profit.
Perhaps editing or copywriting, but both editing and writing courses are available which run cheaper.
It’s only four-figures, or a few thousand dollars of startup costs.
Also, you can keep and work a full-time job while you build your writing career.
Compare this to someone looking to start a bricklaying business, where startup costs might be in the six-figures.
The difference online is that money doesn’t come fast and neither do royalties. The average time it takes between starting up a business online and making a full-time income online is 2-4 years and that’s if you make it a second full-time job on top of your first full-time job.
But again, the startup costs are low, which means the risk is low.
The higher the risk, the more likely it is you make money in business early, but look at how much debt you’re starting in.
With online and indie author businesses, especially if you work full-time, there’s often zero debt.
But the tradeoff is the fact you won’t see money pouring in immediately, and that’s okay.
The strong and truly committed will survive to see this through, and they’ll be the ones rewarded.
And part of this process is to allow readers to ‘test drive’ your work, which will pay you dividends down the road.