15 of the Best Alternatives to Giving Your Book Away for Free
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you understand the power of giving away free content but you can't stomach the idea of giving away your entire book for free on Amazon, NoiseTrade, or other promotional outlets. I know the feeling and completely understand.
It is possible to give away quality content that draws in new fans, exposes your book to new readers, and helps you establish your fan base without having to give away your entire book for free. Did I just hear a huge sigh of relief??
In an over saturated digital world, you need to make your work stand out from the rest. Giving your book away for free is always an option. But there is another avenue you can take: create or curate something of significant value that you can give to your readers that goes beyond your book. This will take some creativity. But taking the time to create additional quality content that you can give to your readers will not only draw new readers in, it will create a deeper connection with you and your fans.
Here are 15 great ways to give away content without giving away your entire book:
1) A collection of blog posts
Blogs are a fantastic (and highly recommended!) way to drive fans back to your website. But they are also a great way to curate content that can be turned into an ebook. Go through your blog posts and find a collection of posts that work well together to create a free ebook. You've already done the work of writing it - now you just have to format it!
This is a great option for fiction writers. You probably already have detailed notes or outlines regarding your characters, so why not compile them into a collection of stories for fans (and potential fans) to get to know your characters a little better. This is a great way to give more to your fans so they appreciate the characters, setting, and full book all the more.
3) Short Stories
Have you ever had a story idea that didn't really pan out to being enough for a full book/novel? Why not consider writing a short story to give away? It will showcase your writing style, your talent, and it will give fans something to walk away with while they are waiting for your new book.
We've worked with some pretty detailed historical fiction writers who have piles of notes, research, and other details that they use to create their stories. Why not compile that into a collection that can go along with the release of your book? It's something you could give away for free while sharing more of what your book is about.
For non-fiction writers, you might consider creating a short printout write-up that gives readers a shorter look or layout of what your full book covers that they can apply to their lives. For example, let's say your writing a parenting book for divorced moms. An option would be to create several printouts she could have on hand for dealing with certain situations.
6) Larger chapter giveaway
While it's fine to give away a chapter or two, it doesn't really do much in giving a reader a great taste of the characters, your writing, or the story. Many times it takes multiple chapters to get to the good stuff. So why not consider giving away multiple chapters that leaves readers at a cliffhanger that makes them run to their bookstore to buy the rest of the book. We did this with a client and, ooohhh boy, did it work wonders!
7) A Manifesto
A manifesto is a bold call-to-action, a statement of your beliefs in a particular subject. If you work within a particular arena that needs change, you might consider writing a manifesto to create dialog or share your thoughts on how to fix a particular situation. This might be a great companion piece to your non-fiction book.
8) Free digital copies
If you have several books under your belt and you are working on a new project, consider giving away a digital download of your previous book. Or you might consider offering a free digital book download when readers purchase the physical book.
9) Extended synopsis
The marketing copy used on the back flap of your book is a teaser to spark interest in the book. Consider writing an extended synopsis with more character detail, plot, setting, etc. It will give your readers a broad and deeper look into not only what the book and characters are like, but also give them a better taste of your writing style.
10) Solve a particular problem
For non-fiction writers, think about the problems, questions, and issues that your ideal reader has and how you can solve those problems or help them. Your book might cover multiple areas in which you can offer your professional direction, but your free content could focus on one particular issue which you can help them with. It's more focused, it shares valuable information that helps your reader, and it showcases that your area of expertise.
11) Extended content
You can look at this as an appendix, of sorts, to your book. This content could go into more detail regarding a particular chapter, issue, idea, that was cut out by the editing process or add new research or testimonials. It's continuing the conversation regarding a specific topic you want to cover in more detail, but aren't able to add to the book itself.
People who purchase your book (whether it be fiction or non-fiction) might be interested in learning more about your profession, your writing process, how you handle your day job and writing a book, and so on. By sharing your experience - tips on writing a book, sharing your research process, how to get into your line of work, etc. - there is a lot of wisdom you can share. And sharing your wisdom helps establish you as an expert within your field.
Some might look at me weird for suggesting this, but I think it's a great way to expand your audience and give fans a significant amount of free content. Tap into your community of fellow authors/writers who are within the same genre as you, and pull your work together to offer your fans a "mega sampler" of your collected work. You each share either chapters from your current book (or one of the ideas mentioned here) and bundle them together. Your work gets in front of another author's audience and vice versa.
14) Image Downloads
If your book has multiple pieces of original art (photography, drawings, graphs, etc.) consider offering a free download of one (or two) of those images. Look at what you offer within your book and see what you can pull from there to offer quality content to your readers.
If your book offers specific instructions, ideas, or outlines a concept for readers to put into practice for a desired result, consider creating checklists, charts, graphs, to-do lists, etc. This will give your readers a tangible collection of downloads that they can print off to directly apply to their every day life.
Don't get me wrong, giveaways are still a great way to draw in new fans. But it's important to know that giving away your book isn't the only option in today's market. And it doesn't need to take a lot of time or money to do that.
Always remember - as the author, you need to find a way to stay in touch with your audience once they have this free information. That's why we love NoiseTrade - fans get something for free and you gain their email address. Staying in touch with fans is the point of giving them something for free - to establish a connection that will last beyond this one book.
If you found this helpful, I'd like to invite you to sign up for our free video lesson Answers for Authors: 5 Actionable Steps to Intentionally Grow Your Audience. It's a fantastic way to get your book marketing on track and see bigger results. I'd love to see you there!
Photo by pirate johnny