Book Marketing: Freebie Reader Magnets

Photo: Ben W., https://www.flickr.com/photos/wlscience/4200626663/

Have you heard that you should be giving something away for free so that readers will give you their email addresses, but you’re not sure what to give? 

You don’t want to proverbially let them milk the cow for free without ever buying it.

Or maybe you only have one book so far or don’t have a series, so you can’t let the first edition go for free.

How do you decide what to give away to help ensure that the people who subscribe will be the ones most likely to buy your book?

If you had these thoughts or questions, you’re not alone. Here’s my take on the subject.

I look at reader magnet freebies like I do free samples at the grocery store. Let’s say there’s a new faux noodle out that claims it tastes just like real, white pasta with the same nutritional value as whole grain varieties, but contains a fraction of the calories. (If we’re going to dream, might as well dream big.) I’ve had the tofu noodles and used zucchini in my spiralizer. So I’m skeptical. Luckily, the grocery store is giving out free samples of the new miracle noodle today. I try it. Then, I either decide it’s just another trick and pass, or their claims are actually true, so I stock up.

Try to look at your writing the same way. A reader sees your book, and it looks promising, but they aren’t sure. They’ve never heard of you and they’ve fallen for this before. Offering them a free sample will help them decide if they want to buy or pass.

If you have just one book, I recommend giving away a short story you’ve written in the same genre or at least one as similar to your book as possible. If you’re not a short story writer, you can give away the first few chapters. However, make sure you’re clear that they are just the first chapters and not the entire book so you don’t anger them.

Once you have more than one book, seriously consider giving the first book away for free as your reader magnet, especially if it’s the first in a series or in the same genre. Even if it isn’t, it will still give the reader an idea of your writing style.

Above all, when deciding on the freebie to offer in book marketing, think “free sample.” What can you provide that will give a potential reader a good idea of your writing style, story telling ability, etc? 

Especially if you’re in the early stages of your author career, think of the this as more of a long time process. If they get your freebie and like it, they are more likely to buy your next title(s) when you send them that email telling them it’s available.

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