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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: e-books

Why You Should Hand Out A Free Series Starter or E-Book

I know the ruse when it comes to writing a book. It’s a long process and it’s by far not the easiest thing to do. Couple writing with life which consists of a dreaded (and often stupid) day job, housekeeping, and anything else life throws at us and we’re lucky to have time to write a paragraph a day if that. Because of this, we might feel handing out a free series starter or e-books means writing is more of a love of the labor these days than helping means make an end.

But I’m here to tell you it’s not the case.

What if I told you that your freebies will lead to something greater over time, especially if you’ve written a series?
On my Lord of Columbia Series Site, you can clearly see I’ve done this with the Neo Skyehawk Series being set to permanently free, mainly on Prolific Works, but also anywhere not named Amazon, but only because you have to fight with Amazon to set a book for free and that takes a while.

My Neo Skyehawk Series is nothing more than a set of free novelettes/novellas related to the parent Lord of Columbia Series. It serves as a bit of a history lesson, which connects the two series.

 

Why Freebies?

As I mentioned above, freebies lead to something greater over time.

Face it, we live in a culture that loves two things:

1) Handouts

2) Binging

Here’s the kicker, however.

People will pay for something so they can binge, but if you’re an author who’s independent or a no-name why would anyone in their right mind buy your books if there are zero reviews and have only sold a few copies?

Sure, your cover and description might be captivating but what am I getting if I open the book?

Plot errors? Grammar? Transitions?

I don’t know because no one in the review section told me anything. I couldn’t trust the book, and most people won’t.

There’s nothing wrong with people as to why they aren’t buying your book.

They WILL buy your book, or books and yes, you can and will make a living on being an indie-author, but will likely take two to four years to get to that point, which is why most indie-authors give up on making a living off their writing.

Think about it: traditionally published authors go through the same ruse and torment, as once a book is accepted for publication, it usually takes about two years before it’s on store shelves.

Indies aren’t getting charged extra. We just upload our books onto Amazon and other platforms without editorial or any kind of reviews. At least if we’re just starting out and haven’t taken the last three years to build an author platform. Some indies sell a lot of copies of their first book early on, yes, but bear in mind it’s highly likely they spent years building a platform first. Again, it evens out.

 

The Connection

Is there a connection between platform building and freebies?

Of course.

Or, you can do like me and upload a couple paid works to Amazon, then create your freebies as freebies are excellent platform-building methods.

Lord of Columbia Series is also a great way to build a platform in addition to this site.

And social media will freaking love you as well.

Why?

Because if I’m on Twitter and scrolling down my newsfeed I’m much more likely to download a freebie e-book Author X has uploaded to Prolific Works or wherever and more likely to stop following that annoying Author Y who keeps dishing out their Amazon buy link every three hours.

So, if I download, read, and like the book, Author X gained a fan and probably an email address to add to their ever-growing list of email addresses that they can then send a mass email to any time a new book is released.

Prolific Works lets you connect your email provider as well, so this works in a smooth manner.

Notice how I barely mentioned social media except as a means to dish out free offerings to your followers. Sure, it’s important and all, but having a couple blogs plus a digital item to hand out is going to take your platform so much further than talking about writing on social media.

Google is a powerful tool, so if you get indexed in Google, think about how many searches for your article’s keywords that happen every single day.

For instance, ‘free series starter’ is a keyword here. If you have the right keyword tool, you can find how many people search for your chosen keyword on a monthly basis. If 400 people search for it, that’s 400 possible eyes on this article per month, and this doesn’t count the other articles I’ve written.

When this blog matures and I have over one-thousand articles, and say my keyword searches average 200 searches each, that’s 200,000 possible eyes per month, and 2,400,000 possible eyes per year. If even one percent of that number clicked through to my site, it’s 2,000 visitors per month. Not a great number, but definitely 2,000 possible fans per month.

Now imagine if I have something for them.

Exactly.

 

Your Freebie Can Be Anything

While an actual book or books can go a long way, if you’re still uncomfortable with handing them out, your freebie can still be something else. Perhaps you created a world and you have notes that you used to build the world. You can use it as a freebie.

Maybe you want to create something to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at your work.

There are so many possibilities here it’s endless. Even exclusive inside looks to your books, or the making of your book. You might even hand them deleted scenes or earlier drafts of your book.

Anything is possible here.

I like handing out the Neo Skyehawk novelettes because while they’re still challenging to make, they’re far easier than actual novels. Also, Neo, Seneca, and many others from the series are mentioned in Lord of Columbia when the parent series’ important plot points intersect with it, so to tell the actual story piques a reader’s interest, but that’s my preference. Yours can be anything.

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Free E-Books and What They Can Do for You

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?
Almost 800.

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

Click the image to download Fighting Tyranny.

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.

Sound greedy?

Sure.

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.

Why?

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.

Click to download Fighting Treason.

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.

 

Authoring Platform

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.

The Eurean Kingdom serves as my reader magnet.

Why?

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.

 

Author Business

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?

My latest book in the freebie Neo Skyehawk Series, click to download.

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.

Web hosting.

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.

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