Getting People to Read Your Book for Free (Step 2, book marketing)

I promised it and here it is – the next book marketing article. As I go through the motions I realize that I’m doing some things out of order, being as I’m learning as I go, but things are as they are. And today I’m going to talk about the book giveaway.

Now, in this case the book giveaway is more than saying to people “hey, by the way, would you like a free book?” There were preparation steps to it, and I’m learning that when it comes to marketing your book some steps overlap into other areas.

So here I am, marketing Frank Crowe, the Dam Builder Who Changed the Face of the Earth. After handling the Press release, it came time for the book giveaway. I could choose to offer the book as a free ebook or I could choose to give it away in traditional dead tree format. I decided to do both in order to reach a wider range of potential readers – and because this book is a historical fiction (smaller audience) the wider I reach the better.

My client chose to start this book out in the KDP select program, so as far as ebooks go it’s only available through Amazon. So the first thing I did when the book was approved was set a give away time and date through the dashboard. That done I now could move on to the physical give away.

First, I had to prepare the book for physical print – and I chose print on demand through Createspace. There are a lot of places I could have chosen for this service – I use Lulu for my own – but Createspace is attached to Amazon so that’s where it went. The book was formatted and ready to go.

While I was at it, I bought an ISBN for the book because it was getting published under my client’s name. I’m not sure what went wrong with that – Createspace rejected the ISBN claiming it wasn’t under the right name. I checked and it was, and I probably could have contacted them to fix things but chose instead to use Createspace’s free ISBN. I’ll save the purchased ISBN for one of my own projects, being as I make limited print runs of my own stuff to distribute myself.

So physical file to get book uploaded… I ordered a sample copy… and while waiting for that I got busy. I went to, added the book with its ISBN to their database, and listed the giveaway. I gave it a long time for people to enter and did my best to write up a snazzy tagline for the contest. Snazzy is very important here.

The giveaway got approved and I had to get busy even more. Here’s where things got tricksy. I have to advertise the giveaway right? Where do you do that? Well your blog is an excellent place to start, and our client’s blog is tied to his Facebook and his twitter so he only has to promote once. There also needed to be a promo video for the book itself to get people to want to notice it.

A book promo commercial is a very special thing. There’s a debate on whether it makes a difference or not. Personally I think they do. They can be of the author answering a question about their book or just a straight full on commercial like you’d see on public TV, when it existed. They should never be no more than two minutes, and one minute long is perfect.

It took me two weeks to find the footage and put the commercial together.

So a commercial was made: this took me a long long time to do and it probably should have happened right up there before step one of my marketing adventure. But it’s made, on Youtube, and linked into my client’s goodreads account. One thing down. More to go.

Next, I looked for places to advertise he was having a giveaway. There are a few places out there – mostly book blogs – that will tell their readers “hey, there is this free book!” But in exchange you  normally have to put their widget on your website. I personally intensely dislike that, so in my case those places have been skipped and I’m shopping for other outlets. In the meantime I did check out Goodreads’ advertising program, which will let you spend as little as $1 a day to promote your book on their website. It lets you link the ad to your book giveaway if they’re hosting it, and in this case they are. So my client’s good money was sizeably spent on that and the advertising campaign has begun.

There’s also – also worth the money spent on it.

And now? Well there was an error on the back cover so  have to put in that correction and order the books to be given away. And look for other places to announce the giveaway to. It won’t be much longer until the giveaway ends so I’d better get a move on.

After this the next step? Encouraging reader reviews and input. This ties into your online author presence. This is a tough one I haven’t gotten the grasp of yet. More next time.